ITV has given the green-light to Jericho, a period drama starring Jessica Raine (Line Of Duty), Hans Matheson (The Tudors) and Clarke Peters (The Wire) which is set in the Yorkshire Dales in the 1870s. The series, which has received an order for 8 episodes, begins production later this month for a 2016 premiere.
Jericho follows the shantytown of Jericho, home to a community of pioneers, settlers and outcasts that will live, thrive and die in the shadow of the viaduct they’ve been brought together to build. The terrain is hostile and if the land doesn’t break the colourful community of men and women – navvies, entrepreneurs, street urchins, prostitutes, families, wives, girlfriends and lovers – it will take seven years to complete.
Jessica Raine plays Annie Quaintain, a woman who, shattered by her husband’s death, finds herself on her own, penniless and homeless, with two teenage children to look after. Together with her two teenage children, Annie leaves for Jericho where she eventually sets up a boarding house for navvy labourers.
Hans Matheson has been set as Johnny Jackson, one of Annie’s first tenants at her new boarding house in Jericho. In the aftermath of an accident on the line, events will bind Annie and Johnny together. Events they will both wish to try and forget, but that will haunt them forever.
Clarke Peters has been cast as Ralph Coates, a self-styled railway agent with a past that keeps him looking over his shoulder. Upon meeting Annie shortly after she arrives in Jericho, he offers her a helping hand, and although reluctant, she accepts. It is Coates that convinces Annie to open a boarding house for the navvy labourers.
The cast of Jericho also includes Mark Addy (Game Of Thrones) as navvy labourer and gang leader ‘Happy’ Jack Laggan; Lorraine Ashbourne (The Syndicate) as Jericho’s resident prostitute Lace Polly; Amy James-Kelly (Coronation Street) as Annie’s daughter Martha; Daniel Rigby (From There to Here) as Charles, the visionary behind the viaduct; and Jeany Spark (Wallander) as Isabella Lambton.
Steve Thompson created Jericho and is penning the scripts for the ITV Studios produced drama. Lisa Osborne is set as the series producer, while ITV Studios Director of Drama Kate Bartlett will executive produce. Seasoned helmer Paul Whittington, who previously directed such ITV dramas as Cilla and The Widower, is attached to direct. ITV Studios Global Entertainment is handling international sales.
“Jericho focuses on the creation of a community from nothing and the human stories and epic struggles of survival that will emerge,” said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the series alongside Controller of Drama Victoria Fea. “We’re grateful to Steve Thompson for creating such wonderful and intriguing characters and to Kate Bartlett and her production team.”
“We’re delighted to be embarking on the production of Jericho, an epic character driven drama set in the visually striking landscape of a frontier community”, added Kate Bartlett, executive producer and Director of Drama for ITV Studios. “We’re also thrilled that we have a wonderful cast with Jessica Raine, Hans Matheson and Clarke Peters in the leading roles”.