Channel 4 have announced a new six-part drama from acclaimed writer and director, Helen Walsh. The Gathering (wt) centres around a violent attack on a teenage girl during a rave on a tidal islet. Set on Merseyside, the drama focuses on a group of teens from disparate backgrounds, each of whom could have committed the crime, along with their parents – who give equal cause for suspicion. The series is produced by the award-winning World Productions
Kelly, the series’ main protagonist and the victim of the attack, straddles the very different worlds of two groups of teens portrayed in the series. Kelly is an accomplished tumbling gymnast, well on the pathway to Team GB but at odds with her teammates and their ultra-competitive parents. By contrast, Kelly also rolls with a group of urban free-runners, whose reckless lifestyle and exuberant free spirit is at odds with the discipline and restrictions Kelly experiences in the tightly controlled world of competitive sport. This multi-layered story is a drama for our times.
The Gathering also interrogates the ways in which today’s parents impose their agendas and issues upon their children. Where is the balance between allowing teens their freedom while ensuring their safety in a world where quick-hit social media can create fame and notoriety overnight – and cancel it, and our children, at the flick of a thumb? Is it responsible to be overly invested in our kids, or irresponsible not to know what they’re up to?
As a novelist, Helen Walsh won the Betty Trask award for Brass and the Somerset Maugham award for Once Upon a Time In England. Helen won the 2016 BAFTA Breakthrough Brit award for her Directorial debut The Violators, for which she also wrote the screenplay.
Caroline Hollick, Head of Drama, Channel 4, commented:
“We are thrilled to be working with the brilliant Helen Walsh and World Productions on this exciting series; The Gathering (wt) which forms part of our strategy to commission drama which also appeals to younger viewers. Through this absorbing story, with Helen’s beautifully drawn, real and relatable characters, the series looks at how family, friendship and aspiration is influenced and shaped by the highs and lows of modern-day parenting. Exploring relevant and urgent themes around what it means to be a teenager, as well as a parent today, The Gathering (wt) is cleverly wrapped up in a compelling “whodunnit” thriller, where the stakes are upped episode after episode.”
Helen Walsh, creator and writer added:
“I wanted to write a twisty, state-of-the-nation take on Philip Larkin’s notorious “they f*ck you up” observation about parents and kids. In an era where the micro-managing of children’s lives has become the new normal, The Gathering (wt) throws today’s surveillance parenting into sharp focus and asks who is really to blame when our kids f*ck up. I’m thrilled to be working with the excellent team at Channel 4 and World Productions and look forward to seeing the kinetic worlds of free-running and tumbling gymnastics brought to our screens.”
World Productions’ Creative Director, Simon Heath said:
“We’re thrilled to be back on Channel 4, working with Caroline, Gwawr and their team to bring Helen’s brilliant scripts to the screen next year. Through the unfolding whodunnit of a violent assault at a teenage party, Helen unpacks the secret lives of teenagers and their dysfunctional modern parents.”