Channel 4 has renewed their hit period drama series The Mill for a second season of 6 episodes, slated to air in 2014.
Based on the real life story of workers employed at the Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire, The Mill is set during time of immense social and industrial change and tells the story of the Quarry Bank Mill, which represented the shining light of modern thinking; the brain child of the financially driven but philanthropic Greg family. Located in the heart of the countryside it is very different to the mills of nearby overcrowded Manchester. Employing hundreds of people, Quarry Bank recruited children as young as nine as unpaid apprentices from orphanages and workhouses; migrants from as far afield as London, Ireland, Scotland and Norfolk flocked to Quarry Bank with its purpose-built village, school, church and surgery. The drama is produced by Darlow Smithson Productions and features a cast which includes Matthew McNulty (The Paradise), Ciaran Griffiths (The Bill), Kerrie Hayes (Good Cop), newcomer Conner Chapman and Kevin McNally (Pirates of The Caribbean).
The renewal comes after the series’ strong ratings performance. The first episode was watched by a consolidated audience of 3.8 million viewers, with the first season going on to average 3.2 million viewers. The show’s second season, which is set to enter production next February, will cover the period between 1838 -1842 and focus on a time of great political change following the Poor Act Amendment of 1834 which made a distinction between “deserving” and “undeserving” poor. This is the time of the great chartist rallies and the birth of modern democracy with the movement for the right for working class people to vote sweeping across the country. John Fay will return to lead the writing team on the second season.
“The Mill is that rare thing – a period drama that resonates with 21st century life”, said Channel 4′s Julia Harrington. “It is a massive pleasure to bring it back. Series two is the next chapter in the life of Esther Price, our troublemaking mill girl drawn from the Quarry Bank archives.”
While Emily Roe, Creative Director at Darlow Smithson Productions, added: “We are delighted that Channel 4 has decided to recommission The Mill. It was a passion project for DSP from the start and we are enormously grateful that Channel 4 had the vision and courage to back it. The collaboration of the history and drama departments has been inspiring. We are really excited about the rich vein of social history we are tapping into for series two.”