ITV have announced a new raft of drama for 2021 and beyond.
Three Little Birds
ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, has commissioned life-affirming drama, Three Little Birds, written by Sir Lenny Henry, inspired by his mother’s stories about leaving Jamaica in the 1950’s for Great Britain, which became her lifelong home and where she raised her family.
Sir Lenny has written each of the drama’s six fictional episodes, which his production company, Douglas Road Productions will produce in association with Tiger Aspect Productions. Both companies are part of the Banijay UK group.
Sir Lenny has been working in consultation with scriptwriter, Russell T Davies, who will be an executive producer on the drama alongside Sir Lenny, Angela Ferreira from Douglas Road Productions and Tiger Aspect’s Head of Drama, Lucy Bedford.
Commented Sir Lenny Henry: “My mother spoke often about how difficult life was back in the day when she first arrived in Britain to begin her new life. The stories she told and indeed the narratives my brothers and sisters beguiled me with over the dinner table made me think about writing a fictional account of three Caribbean women; all with differing yet complementary attributes – a serious tenacious one, a quick witted flibbertigibbet and a Christian prude. They all get to the UK with one thing on their minds – a new life. Although these are fictional accounts, my mother’s narrative will run throughout these stories and hopefully, the stories of other post Windrush arrivals will trigger memories, smiles and tears too. It is my privilege to work with Russell T. Davies and Tiger Aspect on these stories. For me, a life-long dream has come true. This series will be a tribute to the giants who came before us and walked cold streets to create new lives for themselves.”
The drama narrates the adventures of gregarious sisters Leah and Chantrelle, who hail from St Anne’s district in Jamaica, and their virtuous, bible-loving acquaintance, Hosanna as they board a cruise ship heading for a new life in Great Britain.
They are an effervescent mix of forceful personalities, and have very different reasons for leaving their family and friends behind in Jamaica. Unquestionably, they are embarking on a voyage of discovery, as the ladies leave the Caribbean island in search of new horizons and beginnings.
At the instigation of their older brother Aston, who asks if they’ll visit him in Britain and bring him a potential wife from back home, Leah and Chantrelle put his unusual proposition to Hosanna who is prepared to give up her job as a trainee nurse and embark upon the journey ‘to the mother country.’
On arriving in London’s Notting Hill they quickly realise the capital is not the home for them and flee to the Midlands. The road ahead is not a smooth one for our trio, and although we learn some shocking truths about the lives they left behind in Jamaica, we will also cheer them on to succeed, as they overcome the obstacles of racism and integration and build a life in Britain.
The Larkins is a new television adaptation of H.E. Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May, written by acclaimed screenwriter Simon Nye (Finding Alice, The Durrells, Men Behaving Badly) with the aim of capturing the warmth, optimism and escapism of The Larkin family for a modern generation. Abigail Wilson (Trollied, Carters Get Rich, Stella) writes one of the episodes.
Commented Bradley Walsh on his casting as Pop Larkin: “I’m thrilled to be asked to be part of this much loved and iconic series of stories. The warmth and affection that H. E Bates has generated through his books is so uplifting and I cannot wait to be part of the Larkin family. It’ll be a hoot!“
Commented Joanna Scanlan on her casting as Ma:“What better comfort could there be from all we have endured this year than the rolling laughter and outsize hugs of Ma and Pop? It’s going to be an honour to help bring The Larkins to the nation’s devices!”
Set in the late 1950’s, The Larkins is the story of a working-class family led by the golden-hearted wheeler dealer Pop Larkin and his wife Ma, together with their six children, including the beautiful Mariette.
Fiercely loyal to each other and their community, each Larkin family member has a strong work ethic, alongside a disinterest in authority.
The Ipcress File
Globally renowned Len Deighton novel, The Ipcress File has been adapted into a six part television series for ITV starring Joe Cole (Gangs of London, Peaky Blinders) in the iconic role of Harry Palmer alongside Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody, Murder on the Orient Express) and BAFTA award winning actor, Tom Hollander (The Night Manager, Birdbox).
Adapted by Oscar nominated and BAFTA award-winning screenwriter, John Hodge (Trainspotting, T2 Trainspotting)
Commented Polly Hill:“I’m thrilled to be bringing John Hodge’s brilliant adaptation of such an iconic novel to ITV. Harry Palmer is an incredible part and this would have been impossible without the right actor, so we are all delighted that Joe Cole will take on the role. The talent on and off screen means this will be a treat for audiences when it comes to ITV.”
It’s 1963. Cold war rages between West and East. Nuclear bombers are permanently airborne. In this highly charged atmosphere, we join Harry Palmer – a British army sergeant on the make in Berlin. In this newly partitioned city, a sharp working-class young man with sophisticated tastes can make a lot of money. Wholesaler, retailer, fixer, smuggler, Harry’s varied interests bring him into contact with everything and everyone – until the law catches up and it all comes crashing to a halt.
Harry finds himself sentenced to eight years in a grim military jail in England, all his prospects abruptly torn away.
But his impressive network and efficiency have not gone unnoticed, and a gentleman from British intelligence has a proposal. To avoid prison, Harry Palmer will become a spy. And the case on which he cuts his teeth will be The Ipcress File.
Harry’s links to the man suspected of kidnapping a missing British nuclear scientist result in him being conscripted for a dangerous undercover mission that takes him from the Beatles’ London to the Berlin Wall, from the back alleys of Beirut to the white hot sand of a Nuclear Atoll in the Pacific.
A twist-laden spy thriller with a rich cast of characters, The Ipcress File is a stylish and tense tale of abducted scientists, brainwashing, inter-departmental rivalry, treason, and a possibly unwise romance.