BBC One Orders Steve McQueen Drama, Picks Up Tony Jordan’s Motown Series & More

BBC OneBBC One has given the greenlight to a new six-part drama series from noted scribe Steve McQueen which opens in 1968 at the moment of Enoch Powell’s notorious River of Blood speech.

The as-yet untitled drama, which has been in the works for more than a year, will chart the life of a West Indian community at the heart of London from the 1960s-1980s. The story starts in 1968 at the moment of Enoch Powell’s notorious River of Blood speech. In the same year, a small restaurant called The Mangrove opens in Ladbroke Grove: a place of cameraderie and friendship that becomes a social heart for the community – and, over time, a flashpoint for resistance.

Rainmark Films is producing the series, which is being written by McQueen and executive produced by Tracey Scoffield. “These stories are passionate, personal and unique”, said McQueen. “They are testimony to the truth of real lives and urgently need to be told. This is about a legacy which has not only made my life as an artist possible, but also has shaped the Britain that we live in today.”

In addition, BBC One has commissioned a one-off adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from Doctor Who executive producer Russell T. Davies, BBC Cymru Wales, Faith Penhale and Brian Minchin. The channel has also picked up the Motown project Stop! In The Name Of Love from Red Planet Pictures and Death In Paradise executive producer Tony Jordan which has been floating around since it was put into development by the indie back in January 2014.

Stop! In The Name Of Love is being written by Jordan and features a wealth of behind the scenes talent including UK film producer Duncan Kenworthy, Peter Smith and John Kennedy. The series will use the music of Berry Gordy Junior’s famous record label as an integral part of the contemporary drama’s storyline about a group of smart thirty-somethings and their search for love and friendship, with the characters singing the songs within the spoken narrative as an intrinsic part of the plot, character and tone of the show. Red Planet Pictures is producing the drama, Tony Jordan and Duncan Kenworthy executive producing.

The three commissions were announced today by BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival. “”I want to challenge programme-makers and British talent to continue to push the boundaries of creativity and raise the bar even further on quality and innovation. The new commissions that I’m proud to announce today reflect the diverse range of distinctive, pioneering programmes audiences expect from BBC One”, she said.