BBC Unveils Slate Of New Dramas; Orders ‘SS-GB’ & ‘The Secret Agent’ Adaptations, DPP Drama & More

BBCThe BBC has unveiled their slate of new dramas.

At a special event in London, hosted by DG Tony Hall and Controller of Drama Commissioning Ben Stephenson, the corporation unveiled details of more than 40 hours worth of drama commissions, which will air on BBC One and BBC Two in 2015 and 2016. In and amongst the wealth of new commissions, BBC Two confirmed they had ordered a second season of Top Of The Lake, while BBC One ordered a pair of new Luther episodes, and two animated adaptations from Room On The Broom indie Magic Light Pictures.

The wealth of new commissions include a new four-part series from the team behind ratings hit The Missing; a five part adaptation of Len Deighton’s novel SS-GB from the team behind Skyfall; a new cop show titled Cuffs for the weekday 8pm time-slot; a three-part adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel The Secret Agent; a political thriller about the UK’s first Black Director of Public Prosecutions from Silk creator Peter Moffat; and The Dresser, a two-hour long adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s play starring Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen.

“Only the BBC supports the range of writers and ideas that these new announcements demonstrate. This massive investment signals the future direction of BBC drama”, said Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning. “Once regarded as only the home of traditional period drama, I now believe we are the home of the best writers and the most ambitious modern drama. The point of the BBC is to deliver range and risk above and beyond other UK broadcasters, and I believe the success of our drama offering this year and the announcements we are making today pave the way for an exciting future.”

Full Details Of The BBC’s New Drama Commissions Follows Below:


One Of Us

Penned by The Missing scribes Harry and Jack Williams, One Of Us is set in the Highlands of Scotland & Edinburgh and follows the lives of two families living side by side in rural Scotland, whose lives are rocked by a horrific double murder. Rather than following the standard MO of crime dramas and following the police investigation, the four-parter will explore the fallout for the grieving relatives, and the dark consequences that threaten to shatter their lives.

The four-part drama was commissioned by BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore & the BBC’s Controller of Drama Commissioning Ben Stephenson and is being produced by BBC Drama Production through BBC Scotland, in association with Two Brothers Pictures. The executive producers are Christopher Aird, Harry Williams and Jack Williams.


Based on the novel by Len Deighton, SS-GB is an alternate take on history set in the 1940s after the Germans won the Battle Of Britain, with London now under Nazi occupation. It follows Scotland Yard detective Archer who must decide whether to join the resistance movement or effectively collaborate with the SS.

The adaptation has received an order for five episodes and is being penned by Skyfall scribes Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, who described SS-GB as “a brilliant tale of espionage that dares to think the unthinkable”. Sid Gentle Films is producing, with Lucy Richer, Sally Woodward Gentle and Lee Morris serving as executive producers.


An 8 episode series from Julie Gearey and Tiger Aspect Productions, Cuffs is described as a “fast-paced and adrenalin-fuelled cop show” which is eyed for the 8pm weekday slot on BBC One – making it the first new commission for the slot in more than 8 years. Set in Brighton, the show aims to explore the rollercoaster of being a police officer in the UK by examining the relationships between the officers and detectives and the impact that this job has on their personal lives.

In addition to writing, Julie Gearey will also executive produce alongside Tiger Aspect’s Will Gould and the BBC’s Head of Independent Drama Poly Hill. “As a massive fan of cop shows, I’m thrilled to create a new ensemble police series for BBC One”, said Gearey. “Intimate and realistic, we’ll be right on the shoulders of our cops as we follow them into every corner of lives in which work pressures don’t end at the station door.”

The Secret Agent

The Secret AgentA three-part adaptation of the Joseph Conrad novel of the same name, The Secret Agent is set in London in 1886 and follows Soho shopkeeper Verloc, who, unbeknownst to his wife, works as a secret agent for the Russian government. Angry that Britain harbours violent anarchists, the Russians coerce Verloc into planting a bomb that will provoke the authorities into cracking down on these extremists. Caught between the Russians and the British police, Verloc reluctantly draws his own family into a tragic terror plot.

Line of Duty production company World Productions is producing the adaptation, which was penned by Tony Marchant and will be executive produced by Simon Heath and Poly Hill. “Conrad’s depiction of 19th century terrorists committed to the destruction of the West, with a suicide bomber in their midst, was not only prophetic but is undeniably contemporary and compelling”, said Marchant. “Equally it is a heartbreaking story of a family caught up in the political machinations of a world in ferment.”


From Silk scribe Peter Moffat, Undercover (working title) follows the first black Director Of Public Prosecutions. Just as she is about to take up the post, she learns that that her husband and the father of her children has been lying to her for years. Is he concealing an affair, or is it something altogether more sinister? The six episode series is being produced by BBC Drama Production England and will be executive produced by Moffat and Hilary Salmon.

“After immersing myself in WW1 and the 1920s in The Village I am relishing the prospect of returning to the contemporary British political landscape to look at where we stand and how we got here”, said Moffat. “Undercover is a thriller about identity, trust and the struggle to lead a morally principled personal and professional life, while working up close with the police, press, politicians and criminals who have so corrupted and damaged public life over the last 20 years.”

The A Word

Based on the Israeli series from Keshet International, The A Word follows a Scott family whose youngest son is diagnosed with autism and suddenly they don’t feel like every other family anymore. They soon realise that if their son is ever going to communicate, they are going to have to learn how to communicate themselves. Produced by Fifty Fathoms, Tiger Aspect Productions and Keshet UK, the six episode series is being penned by Peter Bowker. The executive producers are Peter Bowker, Patrick Spence, Lucy Richer, Sara Johnson, Avi Nir and Keren Margalit


The Dresser

The Dresser is a two-hour adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s play which will star Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen. The production hails from Collin Callender’s Playground Entertainment & Sonia Friedman Productions and is being directed by Richard Eyre. The executive producers are Colin Callender, Sonia Friedman and Ben Stephenson.

  • Helen Rogerson

    Rather than being obsessed with “ambitious,modern” drama and taking risks, why not produce series of shows which people actually like such as Our Zoo series 2? Too busy trying to make a name for themselves rather than listening to viewers.