Weruche Opia (Inside No 9, Sliced), Paapa Essiedu (Kiri, Press), Aml Ameen (Yardie, Mazerunner), Adam James (Belgravia, Doctor Foster), Sarah Niles (Catastrophe, Rocks) and Ann Aikin (Career of Evil, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams: The Commuter) have been tapped to star opposite Michaela Coel in her BBC Two drama January 22nd.
January 22nd is described as a “landmark drama” series that explores the question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in the new landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation.
Set in London, where gratification is only an app away, the story centres on Arabella (Coel), a care-free, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a holiday fling-turned aspirational boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when she is spiked with a date-rape drug, she must question and rebuild every element of her life. Feted as the ‘voice of her generation,’ Arabella is complex, original and highly talented.
But, distracted by the pressures of her first triumph, she is struggling to write her second novel and is in danger of becoming destructive and self-absorbed. After being sexually assaulted in a nightclub, her life changes irreversibly and Arabella is forced to reassess everything: her career, her friends, even her family. As Arabella struggles to come to terms with what has happened, she begins a journey of self-discovery. Often painful, sometimes funny, it leads her to some surprising places – and controversial conclusions.
Rounding out the cast is Harriet Webb (White Gold, Plebs), Ellie James (Giri/Haji, Strike), Franc Ashman (Peep Show, Apple Tree Yard), Karan Gill (Flesh & Blood), Natalie Walter (Horrible Histories, Jonathan Creek) and Samson Ajewole. “We’re incredibly lucky to have pulled together such a talented cast to bring these scripts to life and I look forward to sharing this work with you all next year”, Coel said in a statement.
The series, which has an order for twelve half-hour episodes, was originally commissioned back in 2018 and is produced by Various Artists Ltd and FALKNA Productions. HBO has since come on-board as the co-producer and will air the series in the United States and Canada. Warner Bros. International Television Distribution will handle global sales. BBC Studios retains rights in the UK and Ireland. Filming on January 22nd is now underway. Michaela Coel and Sam Miller are directing. The executive producers are Michaela Coel, Phil Clarke, Roberto Troni, Piers Wenger and Jo McClellan.