Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard, Spooks) and Max Beesley (The Outsider, Suits) have been set as the leads in The Midwich Cuckoos, Sky One’s eight episode adaptation of the John Wyndham novel of the same name. Production on the series is set to get underway next month, ahead of a 2022 premiere.
The Midwich Cuckoos is set in Midwich, a small English commuter town that is liberal and aspirational, populated by nuclear families and affluent high streets. A place where nothing much happens – and for a very good reason. That is until the twilight hours of a summer’s day when a sleepy corner of Midwich is plunged into panic. People pass out on their feet without warning, without reason.
Anyone who tries to enter meets the same fate. And nobody can understand why. When the mysterious blackout is lifted, life for those affected returns to apparent normality – except every woman of child-bearing age inside the zone has suddenly and inexplicably fallen pregnant. As news spreads and tensions simmer, it is up to gifted psychotherapist Dr Susannah Zellaby to help support those affected through the emotional wilderness.
Susannah’s own daughter, Cassie, has fallen pregnant and harbours deep concerns about who, or what, is behind this phenomenon. Local officer DCI Paul Kirby is tasked with maintaining order but unbeknownst to them all, a terrifying force is building in the comfortable streets of Midwich. These children – potential parasites – flourish under the very love and care that their families give them. Who are these children? And what do they want?
Rounding out the cast is Aisling Loftus (A Discovery of Witches), Ukweli Roach (Blindspot), Synnøve Karlsen (Last Night In Soho, Clique), Lara Rossi (Robin Hood), Lewis Reeves (I May Destroy You), Rebekah Staton (Raised By Wolves) and Anneika Rose (Line Of Duty).
“I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Sky and the brilliant Ruth Kenley-Letts on David Farr’s superb adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos”, Keeley Hawes said in a statement. “I’m very much looking forward to working with the hugely talented Max Beesley and the amazing cast and I can’t wait to enter the strange and unsettling world of Midwich!”
The drama series is being penned by David Farr, Sasha Hails, Namsi Khan and Laura Lomas. Route 24 and Snowed-In Productions are producing in association with Sky Studios. Eliza Mellor is the series producer, while Alice Troughton and Jennifer Perrott are attached to direct. The executive producers are Marc Samuelson and Robert Cheek for Route 24 and Ruth Kenley-Letts and Neil Blair for Snowed-In Productions.
“From A Discovery of Witches to Patrick Melrose, we’ve had huge success taking modern classics from page to screen and giving them a fresh, modern, edge that is distinctly Sky”, said Gabriel Silver, Sky’s Director of Commissioning for Drama. “When the opportunity arose to create a modern-day adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel that is The Midwich Cuckoos, we jumped at the chance.”
While series creator and writer David Farr added: “I first read The Midwich Cuckoos when I was twelve. I was living in a small town in 1980s Britain. Everything about the book rang true to me and terrified me. An invasion of a small community by a hostile and ruthless force. Apparently innocent children as a force of huge malevolent power. It got under my skin. As I’ve grown older, the story has never ceased to exert a grip. The idea that we may birth our own destruction is so simple and frightening. That as a mother or a father, the being we love most in the world may turn on us. It’s the stuff of nightmares.”