Karla-Simone Spence, who starred in Paramount Pictures’ feature Blue Story as well as BBC series Wannabe and Gold Digger, leads the cast as Frannie Langton.
Langton is the young protagonist born into a life of slavery who is fighting to tell her own story.
Cookson plays Madame Marguerite Benham and Martins stars as Laddie Lightning in the murder mystery. Stephen Campbell Moore (War of The Worlds) also features as renowned scientist and husband to Madame, George Benham, alongside Steven MacIntosh (Rocketman) as John Langton and Henry Pettigrew (The Danish Girl) as William Pettigrew.
The four-part British drama, which is produced by Doctor Foster producer Drama Republic, has started filming in Wakefield, Yorkshire. Collins is adapting her own book.
Set against the opulence of Georgian London, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, narrates Frannie’s journey from a Jamaican plantation to the grand Mayfair mansion of celebrated scientist George Benham and his exquisitely beautiful wife, Madame Marguerite Benham.
In a misguided and monstrous gesture Frannie is gifted to Benham by the man who owns her, John Langton, and she is employed as a maid in the household much to her chagrin. Events take a fateful turn as the Benhams are found murdered in their beds, with Frannie lying next to Marguerite. Frannie is accused of murder; a murder she has no recollection of, other than she couldn’t possibly have killed her mistress because she was devoted to her. Dragged away to prison, Frannie attempts to piece together the events of that night. She is deep into a laudanum addiction and unable to recall what happened.
Will Frannie recall the haunting events of that night? All she knows is she loved Marguerite passionately and cannot believe she would have hurt her. But if not Frannie, who did commit the double murder? Others have motive, but only Frannie is accused and she will hang if found guilty. What hope does she have of clearing her name?
The Confessions of Frannie Langton was commissioned by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill and ITV Drama Commissioner Chloe Tucker. The series will be produced by Carol Harding (Agatha And The Curse of Ishtar) and directed by Andrea Harkin (The Trial of Christine Keeler). It is exec produced by Greg Brenman, Rebecca de Souza and Sara Collins.
“So many authors write with their dream cast in mind so I was delighted at our table read to discover that ITV and the producers and director had assembled mine. This is an electric cast and I can’t wait to see their work. Every moment of watching them prepare their performances has been wonderful,” said Collins.
Karla-Simone Spence added, “It’s an absolute honour and dream to bring to life the intelligent, forward thinking, resilient woman that is Frannie Langton. Her journey truly is extraordinary and that’s all thanks to Sara Collins’ incredible writing of three-dimensional women. I hold Frannie dear to my heart and I’m really looking forward to unleashing her with Andrea Harkin and our talented cast.”
Sophie Cookson said, “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining The Confessions of Frannie Langton. Sara Collins has written an evocative, haunting script with complex, multi-faceted women at its heart. I’m delighted to be working with Andrea Harkin again and an incredibly talented group of creatives.”
“Sara Collins’ stunning adaptation of her own novel has attracted the most wonderful cast. We are thrilled to be working with an ensemble of established, emerging and brand-new talent. And with the brilliant Andrea Harkin directing, we couldn’t be happier,” Greg Brenman and Rebecca de Souza added.