Television newcomer Kascion Franklin has been tapped to play the lead role in Danny And The Human Zoo, BBC One’s upcoming 90 minute one-off drama which is inspired by the life of Lenny Henry and hails from Happy Valley indie Red Production Company.
Danny And The Human Zoo tell the story of Danny, a talented impressionist from a working class Jamaican family. When Danny wins a talent competition, he soon finds himself working the comedy circuit. Audiences can’t get enough and applaud Danny as he effortlessly morphs into Mohammed Ali, Tommy Cooper and Frank Spencer, eventually hitting the big time on TV. But when an unscrupulous manager takes advantage of Danny, he hits rock bottom. Having made his name by becoming other people, Danny has to save himself by finding out who he really is.
Kascion Franklin, repped by RED Talent Management, will lead the cast of the one-off drama as Danny. Other cast members include Lenny Henry (The Syndicate) as Danny’s dad Samson, Cecilia Noble (The Bill) as Danny’s mum Myrtle, Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who) as Danny’s Manager Jonesy, Richard Wilson (One Foot In The Grave) as promoter James Broughton and Mark Benton (Waterloo Road) as seasoned entertainer Syd Bolton.
The one-off drama was penned by Lenny Henry and is described as a “fictionalised” version of the comedian’s experiences as a teenager in the 1970s. Red Production Company – the indie behind Happy Valley, Prey and Scott & Bailey – are producing, with Poly Hill, Nicola Shindler and Caroline Hollick serving as executive producers. BAFTA Rising Star Destiny Ekaragha is attached to direct Danny And The Human Zoo, which is now filming in and around the Dudley area.
“I can’t believe that we’re finally shooting my screenplay Danny And The Human Zoo! This is a fantasy memoir of the first two years of my career – my beginnings, working on the Zoo, working men’s clubs and all that stuff that happened to me in the mid-Seventies – but crammed into 90 minutes”, said Lenny Henry. “The script took about three years with the help of Nicola Shindler and Caroline Hollick at RED Productions and now we’re going to make it in Dudley – led by a wonderful director Destiny Ekaragha. There’s an incredibly talented cast and I feel very lucky to be a part of it all.”