In addition to announcing that BBC One has commissioned a new 5 episode World War I drama series titled The Great War, the BBC’s Controller of Drama Ben Stephenson today announced that BBC Two has green-lit production on a continuing eight-part drama serial from Accused scribe Jimmy McGovern, who is also working on a 90 minute TV movie for BBC One titled Common.
Penned by McGovern and produced by RSJ Films, the as-yet-untitled drama serial is inspired by the events of the late 1780s when Britain deported its unwanted citizens to the very edge of the known world. The drama begins several months after the First Fleet has arrived at Sydney Cove. It is told through the eyes of three convicts: James Freeman, Tommy Barrett and Elizabeth Quinn. Their passionate friendship is a rollercoaster of survival set between the deadly, bush and the infinite blue of the mighty Pacific Ocean. Casting is currently underway, with RSJ seeking co-producers for the drama.
“In 1787 when Britain banished its petty thieves, whores, orphans and highwaymen – to Sydney Cove, a place so hot and barren and hostile that very few people had ever set foot there”, said Jimmy McGoven. “It was an audacious social experiment, unparalled before or since. Yet these rejects from Britain, accompanied by soldiers, officers, a vicar and a doctor, survived against all the odds, in spite of famine, drought, escapes, hangings and floggings, the colony thrived. This is their story.”