EXCLUSIVE: The Tunnel and Tin Star producer Kudos is teaming up with Peaky Blinders and Taboo scribe Steven Knight to develop a new drama series set against the backdrop of the UK’s early 1980s Two Tone music scene.
The series, which will be produced by Kudos in association with Kudos North and Yesterday producers Matthew James Wilkinson (Stigma Films) and Nick Angel, will use the music of Two Tone as its heartbeat to tell the story of how the scene exploded out of Coventry and Birmingham helping to unify black, white and Asian youth groups amid racism and political injustice.
The movement, which fused Jamaican ska with punk rock and new wave, is associated with UK groups including The Specials, The Selecter and The Beat.
The project, if commissioned, would be among the first to be made from the 30 acre TV & Film studio complex being set up by Steven Knight in central Birmingham, with the cast and crew planned to reflect the racial diversity of the city.
Knight said: “This will be a project very close to my heart, since this is home territory geographically and personally. I grew up with this music and the people who loved it. It was a soundtrack that perfectly fitted the mood of the times, on the streets, in clubs and on the football terraces. Birmingham and Coventry were the places where Two Tone was born and we will chart its progress through the important years. The production team we are putting together will perfectly reflect the make up of the people who made Two Tone happen.”
Karen Wilson, Co MD of Kudos added: “This is a remarkable period of cultural history deeply rooted in the West Midlands, so with Steven’s passion for the area and his brilliant writing this will be a fascinating story of progression and unity set against a backdrop of racial tension and economic demise.”
Nick Angel was director of A&R for Island Records from 1990-99 where he signed acts including PJ Harvey, Pulp, and Apache Indian. He was previously head of music for Working Title and is a founder of Raindog Films, the production company set up by Colin Firth.