At an event hosted by BBC Director-General Tony Hall and BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore last night, the BBC unveiled their autumn/winter line-up, which includes, amongst other shows, Dickensian, the two Luther specials, the Victoria era Sherlock special, Abi Morgans’ River, John Le Carré adaptation The Night Manager and epic mini War & Peace.
“This autumn, BBC One will bring the nation together with a distinctive mix of high-quality programmes that will empower, surprise and inspire audiences” Charlotte Moore said. “From Abi Morgan’s River to landmark natural history series The Hunt and Great Barrier Reef, original 20-part series Dickensian, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Waste, to The Night Manager, the epic War And Peace, the Tracey Ullman Show and returning global hits Luther and Sherlock, to name just a few.”
Alongside those previously announced shows, Moore also unveiled a raft of new commissions for the Autumn/Winter schedule. Said commissions include a three-part adaptation of the Mark Billingham novel Rush Of Blood, a live Mrs Brown’s Boys special, “visceral” multi-part drama series Troy – Fall Of A City, a one-off To Sir With Love adaptation, and a new Peter Moffat series titled The Last Post. Additionally, BBC One has confirmed details of their J.K. Rowling adaptation The Cormoran Strike Mysteries and revealed the cast for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“BBC One’s commitment to ambitious and pioneering television like this is unrivalled. It demonstrates a channel that’s distinctive, best in class, and at the top of its game, raising the bar of what British television can offer”, Moore added. “We all know BBC One’s remit is to entertain, educate and inform for a mainstream audience. But tonight I want to make three promises. BBC One will be defined in the coming years by its commitment to risk taking. I will guarantee investment in innovation. And I will challenge every new commission to break the mould”
Full details of the new commissions follow below:
Mrs Brown’s Boys Live
BBC One has commissioned a special live episode of their ratings juggernaut Mrs Brown’s Boys, which is set to air next Summer. The special is designed to kick off a new season of comedy on BBC One which will enlist the biggest names in British comedy writing and performing to revisit loved classics and launching a number of new shows
“This is very exciting. When I heard the BBC were letting us go fully live I thought: “They’ve lost their minds!” I’m seriously delighted about this”, said Mrs Brown’s Boys creator and star Brendan O’Carroll. “As Mrs Brown’s Boys started in the theatre it gives us a chance to show the TV audience LIVE what we really do. Put the kids to bed early!”
Troy – Fall Of A City
From David Farr and Kudos Film & TV, Troy – Fall Of A City tells the story of the fall of Troy and the collapse of a family. Told from the perspective of the Trojan family at the heart of the siege, Troy – Fall Of A City goes back to the saga’s origins: to the judgment of Paris, his passionate elopement with Helen, and the ill-starred prophecy surrounding his birth. Matthew Read, Derek Wax and Matthew Read are the executive producers.
“David Farr’s bold and visceral rendition of the 3,000-year-old classic, told across multiple parts, will be unlike anything we’ve ever seen on BBC One before”, said BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore. “Intimate and epic, gripping and exhilarating, rich with psychological intrigue and human drama, we will feel the characters’ passions, pain and loss.”
While series scribe David Farr added: “The story of Ilium, the ancient city of Troy, has always gripped me. Fall Of A City aims to convey in all its emotional richness, the effects of war, and the toll taken on city and family by the horrors of siege. Though one of Europe’s oldest stories, it could not be more sadly pertinent today.”
The Last Post
Created by The Village scribe Peter Moffat, The Last Post is set in Aden in 1965 and tells the story of a British army unit fighting a terrorist insurgency in the Middle East and the women and children who were there with them. The project is based on Moffat’s childhood memories and is being produced by Bonafide Films and The Forge Entertainment. The executive producers are Margery Bone, Elwen Rowlands, George Faber, Mark Pybus and Matthew Read.
To Sir With Love
A one-off 90 minute adaptation of ER Braithwaite’s autobiographical novel, To Sir With Love is set in the bomb-damaged East End of London in the aftermath of World War I. Guyanese engineer Ricky Braithwaite is de-mobbed from the RAF to find a cold welcome in a Britain which has turned its back on the black men and women who had fought alongside them in the war. Taking a job as a teacher at an unconventional ‘free’ school in the East End, Ricky faces a class of unruly white working class kids who test him to his limits. The adaptation was penned by Hanif Kureishi and is being produced by Rainmark Films. The EPs are Tracey Scoffield and Lucy Richer.
“ER Brathwaite’s To Sir With Love, written and set in London’s East End at the end of the 1950s, is a moving, tough and informative story about an intelligent man whose only hope of work – since he is black – is to become a teacher”, said Hanif Kureishi. “As a young man in the 1960s, TSWL was the only novel I was aware of which dealt with the subject of race in Britain, and I hope this dramatization provides a vivid portrayal, particularly for the young, of how Britain has changed since then, and how it has remained the same.”
The Cormoran Strike Mysteries
Originally commissioned last December, BBC One’s adaptation of the Cormoran Strike series of novels by J.K. Rowling (writing under the pen name Robert Galbraith) is starting to take shape. Sarah Phelps, who formed a close working relationship with Rowling when she adapted The Casual Vacancy for TV, has come on-board to pen the adaption alongside Ben Richards. The series is being produced by Bronte Film and Television, the independent production company run by JK Rowling and Neil Blair, both of whom are serving as executive producers alongside Ruth Kenley-Letts and Lucy Richer.
The BBC series is described as being “steeped in the atmosphere of contemporary London” and follows war veteran turned private detective Cormoran Strike who investigates shocking crimes together with his female assistant Robin, whose forensic mind and fierce determination he cannot ignore. The murders take them from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the literary haunts of Fitzrovia, exposing the seedy reality lurking beneath seemingly innocent societies. With each crime, they discover a little more about each other and both learn that appearances can be deceptive.