Controller of BBC Drama, Piers Wenger, has announced his vision for BBC Drama at an event co-hosted with the BBC’s Director-General Tony Hall. He also announced over 47-hours of new drama commissions.
A Suitable Boy
The multi award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies will adapt Vikram Seth’s international bestseller A Suitable Boy for BBC One. A modern classic about a young woman’s search for love and identity in a newly independent, post-Partition India defining its own future, this beloved novel has never been adapted for the screen before. Now, Andrew Davies’ scripts will bring the story to a whole new audience with his signature blend of warmth, wit and humanity.
A Suitable Boy is the story of Lata, a young woman coming of age in northern India in 1951. Lata’s mother Mrs Rupa Mehra is determined to find her a husband, but after her sister’s conventional arranged marriage Lata is not convinced she wants the same path through life. Torn between duty to her family and the excitement of romance, Lata embarks on an epic journey of love, desire and heartache as three very different suitors vie for her hand. Her choice will play out against the tumultuous political backdrop of India at a crossroads, looking towards its first independent general election and carving out its own destiny.
A Very English Scandal
A multi-award-winning stellar team brings this new three-part drama to BBC One. Based on the book A Very English Scandal: Sex, Lies And A Murder Plot At The Heart Of The Establishment, by acclaimed journalist John Preston, the drama is written by Russell T Davies (Doctor Who, Queer As Folk, Cucumber)
A Very English Scandal is the shocking true story of the first British politician to stand trial for conspiracy and incitement to murder. It is the late 1960s, homosexuality has only just been decriminalised, and Jeremy Thorpe, the leader of the Liberal party and the youngest leader of any British political party in a hundred years, has a secret he’s desperate to hide. As long as his ex-lover Norman Scott is around, Thorpe’s brilliant career is at risk. With the help of friends, Thorpe schemes and deceives – until he can see only one way to silence Scott for good. The trial of Jeremy Thorpe changed society forever, illuminating the darkest secrets of the Establishment. The Thorpe affair revealed such breath-taking deceit and corruption that, at the time, hardly anyone dared believe it could be true.
From BAFTA award-winning writer Amanda Coe (Apple Tree Yard, Life in Squares) comes a new three-part BBC One adaptation of Black Narcissus, Rumer Godden’s iconic tale of sexual repression and forbidden love.
Returning this haunting love story to its original setting in the 1930s, as the western colonial order is about to explode into the crisis of World War Two, Black Narcissus follows Sister Clodagh and the nuns of St Faiths, who travel to Nepal to set up a branch of their order in the remote palace of Mopu.
In the unfettered sensuality of the so-called House of Women, Sister Clodagh finds herself increasingly attracted to the handsome and damaged land agent, Mr Dean. But as the repressed memories of Clodagh’s past become entangled with the tragic history of Princess Srimati, the Nepalese princess driven to madness and suicide in the palace after her own tragic love story, history seems doomed to repeat itself.
Are there really ghosts here in the Himalayas, or are the nuns just succumbing to long-repressed primal desires? And which of them is prepared to die – or kill – for love?
What does it take for a mother to walk out on her family, leaving her children behind? What impact does it have, and how do others judge her? From BAFTA and International Emmy winning screenwriter Danny Brocklehust, Come Home is a powerful, absorbing and deeply emotional family drama, told with warmth and humour. Tense, compelling and truthful, the drama explores the messy realities of parenthood, marriage, and what happens when a mother switches the reset button on their life.
Filmed and set in Northern Ireland, the three-part drama will focus up close on a family reeling, from mother Marie who has made the hardest decision of her life, to her bereft husband Greg, and their three kids: 16 year old Liam, 14 year old Laura and 4 year old Molly.
From Joe Barton, the writer of BAFTA winning Our World War and Humans, comes an original eight-part series about a middle-aged Tokyo detective (Kenzo) who travels to London in search of his wayward younger brother (Yuto). Once thought dead, Yuto is now believed to be posing as a Yakuza gangster in London and wanted for the murder of a Japanese businessman there.
Kenzo is a lonely and driven man. His honour, his family’s well-being, and the fragile peace between the warring gangs back home, rest on him finding Yuto and returning him to Tokyo. Yet, despite the pressures of home, a mis-fit family of lonely Londoners forms around Kenzo. There’s Rodney, a half Japanese rent boy with a wicked sense of humour, and Sarah, a forensic specialist with secrets of her own. Torn between two cities, and an increasingly conflicted sense of self, Kezo wrestles with questions of guilt, duty, love and shame.
Giri/Haji is a dark, character-driven crime story which cuts between London and Tokyo, exploring the butterfly effect between the two cities, and asks – how do we live with our actions when the prisms they’re viewed through can seem to change so drastically depending on where we are or who we talk to?
A six-part drama series from Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani, two new writers for television, A contemporary thriller about a young, second generation Pakistani man from East London who is coerced by a Counter-Terrorism officer to go undercover and inform for him. The officer himself has a past he is unwilling to expose and as he pushes his informant deeper, the stakes for both men get higher and higher. It is a story about identity in a world where lines are increasingly being drawn and sides are being taken. What happens when you, or your friends, family or neighbours fall on the wrong side of that line and the personal becomes political.
Line of Duty
Piers announced a sixth series of Jed Mercurio’s police procedural to go with the fifth series we knew to expect.
From the award-winning creator of Call The Midwife Heidi Thomas comes Little Women. Based on the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott, this enthralling three-part adaptation will bring to life the iconic March sisters for BBC One. Loved by generations of women worldwide, Little Women is a truly universal coming of age story, as relevant and engaging today as it was on its original publication in 1868. Set against the backdrop of a country divided, the story follows the four sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March on their journey from childhood to adulthood. With the help of their mother Marmee, while their father is away at war, the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman: from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss and marriage.
Based on Eva O’Connor’s award winning play, Overshadowed tells the story of a young girl called Imogene (Imo) whose life spirals out of control when she meets the monster of anorexia personified. The eight-part short-form series has been written by television newcomers Eva O’Connor and Hildegard Ryan, and will be produced by Kay Mellor’s Rollem Productions for BBC Three.
Summer of Rockets
Stephen Poliakoff’s semi-autobiographical Summer Of Rockets is a six-part series for BBC Two produced by Little Island Productions. Set in the UK during the tumultuous year of 1957. Fear and excitement of the future permeates the lives of all, as Britain tests its first hydrogen bomb, the Prime Minister declares that “most of our people have never had it so good”, the Soviets launch their first ballistic missile and beat the Americans by successfully sending a Satellite into space. All this washed down with the emergence of Elvis and rock ‘n’ roll.
The War of the Worlds
From Peter Harness comes the first British television adaptation of H. G. Wells’ novel The War Of The Worlds, produced by Mammoth Screen told over three parts.
Horsell Common in Surrey is struck by a huge meteor, and the inhabitants of Earth slowly fall victim to a vicious invasion. The three-part drama follows one man’s attempt to escape the ruthless Martians – but they are determined to destroy all human life as they attempt to conquer the earth…
Inspired by a true story and written by Anna Symon, this three-part drama is set in 1960s London, 1940s London and India in the 1930s.
In 1963, Alison Wilson thinks she is a normal, happily married woman. But when her husband Alec suddenly dies, a woman turns up on her doorstep, claiming that she is the real Mrs Wilson. Alison is determined to prove the validity of her own marriage – and Alec’s love for her – but is instead led into a world of dark and troubling secrets. Alec was a British spy and a best-selling novelist.. .but what else besides? Where did his truth end and his fiction begin? Alison will be pushed to the very brink to find out. Ruth Wilson (Luther, The Affair) is signed on to star.