Channel 4 have released the trailer for their new historical drama The Mill.
The four-part drama is set in the turbulent year of 1833. Based on the extensive historical archive of Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, this powerful new serial depicts Britain at a time when the industrial revolution is changing the country beyond recognition. In the 1830s, children as young as nine work 12-hour shifts in the mills, and the new class of mill-owning families prosper. But the so-called “white slaves of England” are about to take their lives into their own hands for the first time as outsiders with new ideas enter their world. At Quarry Bank Mill things are about to change.
third of the workforce at Quarry Bank are apprentices – many are youngsters sold by local workhouses to the Gregs, the mill owners. These unpaid apprentices have no right to leave the mill until adulthood, bearing an uncomfortable similarity to the slaves who the Gregs also own in the Caribbean. In this bold new drama, the apprentices are led by Kerrie Hayes (Black Mirror, Good Cop, Kicks) as the real life Esther Price, a feisty Liverpudlian well documented in Quarry Bank’s archives, who risks her own position to stand up for justice. The arrival of Daniel Bate, played by Matthew McNulty (Misfits, The Syndicate) – a progressive young engineer with a troubled past – proves a catalyst, and the political firebrand John Doherty, played by Aidan McArdle (The Duchess, Garrow’s Law), seems to offer the workers the possibility of a new and better future.
The adults who rule these teenagers’ lives with an iron rod include Kevin McNally (Pirates of the Caribbean, Downton Abbey) as Mr Timperley, Manager of the Apprentice House, and Claire Rushbrook (My Mad Fat Diary) as his wife. Craig Parkinson plays Charlie Crout; an abusive overseer whose treatment of Miriam (Sacha Parkinson), a young apprentice, compels the outspoken Esther Price to speak out while Miriam’s more compliant sister, Susannah (Holly Lucas) tries to keep her head down.
Donald Sumpter (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Game of Thrones) and Jamie Draven (Billy Elliott) play Quarry Bank’s founder Samuel Greg and his ambitious son Robert, while Barbara Marten (Casualty, Waking the Dead) plays Hannah Greg, Robert’s mother, who wants to improve the apprentices’ lives while defending the family business.
The Mill airs soon on Channel 4