Phoebe Fox (A Poet In New York), James Norton (Happy Valley) and Lydia Leonard (Wolf Hall) have been cast as the leads in Life In Squares, BBC Two’s upcoming three-part drama about the Bloomsbury Group.
Life In Squares tells the story of the Bloomsbury group over 40 years, from the death of Queen Victoria to the Second World War, as they attempted to forge a life free from the constraints of the past. Their pursuit of freedom and beauty was always passionate, often impossible and ultimately devastating, yet their legacy is still felt today. The drama explored the close, often fraught relationship of sisters Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf, their complicated alliance with gay artist Duncan Grant, as well as their wider relationship’s with the other members of the Bloomsbury Group.
Phoebe Fox has been cast as Vanessa Bell; James Norton will play Duncan Grant; while Lydia Leonard will portray Virginia Woolf. Rounding out the cast is Sam Hoare as Clive Bell, Edmund Kingsley as Maynard Keynes, Ed Birch as Lytton Strachey, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Rupert Penry-Jones, Jack Davenport, Elliot Cowan and Andrew Havill. Eve Best and Catherine McCormack also star as Vanessa and Virginia later in life, when they settle into marriage, motherhood and, in Virginia’s case, enjoying huge public acclaim.
The three-parter is being written by Amanda Coe and directed by Simon Kaijser, whose previous credits include Wipe Their Tears Without Gloves. Ecosse Films are producing in association with Tiger Aspect Productions, with Lucy Richer, Lucy Bedford and Douglas Rae serving as executive producers. Rhonda Smith is set to produce. Production on the series is now underway in London and at Charleston Farmhouse – the group’s iconic base in East Sussex.
“Life in Squares gets under the skin of the Bloomsbury group to lay bare the very human and emotional story of a group of people determined to find their own path in life. Locked in a perpetual struggle to reconcile their heads with their hearts, they loved and worked with great passion and forged lives that still resonate today”, said Executive Producer Lucy Bedford. “Amanda Coe’s scripts are beautifully wrought, Simon Kaijser’s vision is immense and we couldn’t be more excited to have assembled this amazing cast whose creativity and talent is every bit as potent as the characters they portray.”
While Lucy Richer, Commissioning Editor for BBC Independent Drama, added: “We are delighted to have assembled a magnificent team both on and off screen to make Life in Squares. The combination of Amanda Coe’s stunning scripts, director Simon Kaijser and our talented cast will bring to life this extraordinary era in a unique, fresh and exciting way”.