Dolly Alderton, Candice Carty-Williams and Theresa Ikoko are among those writing dramas for the BBC, with Alderton adapting her memoir Everything I Know About Love (Viking), while Daisy May Cooper will star in a show inspired by Cash Carraway’s memoir.
Piers Wenger, BBC director of drama, has announced six new “ambitious dramas that are pushing the boundaries”, which emulate the success of recent BBC hits such as “Line of Duty”, “I May You Destroy You” and “Normal People”.
Alderton will adapt her bestselling memoir Everything I Know About Love into a semi-fictionalised drama about two best friends, which will give “an unflinching account of surviving your twenties”, according to the BBC. “Maggie and Birdy, besties since school, finally land in London to live it large, when the unexpected happens: dependable Birdy gets a steady boyfriend,” the broadcaster said. “[It's] a generous, funny, warm-hearted and uplifting 'Sex & The City' for Millennials, which covers bad dates and squalid flat-shares, heartaches and humiliations and, most importantly, unbreakable female friendships.”
Alderton said: “It’s a messy, boisterous, joyful, romantic comedy about two best female friends from childhood and what happens when they move into their first London house-share and the first phase of adulthood.”
An original drama series from Carty-Williams, “Champion”, tells the story of what happens when fame collides with family, following hero Bosco Champion, “the golden boy of the Champion family—and a UK rap sensation before he was jailed—is home from prison”. The BBC described the show as “a love letter to Black British music set in south London... 'Champion' is the celebration of a sound that has long been the beating heart of our culture”.
Carty-Williams said: “'Champion' is a celebration of Black music and a Black family, however fragmented that family might be. Since I knew what music was, I’ve loved grime and UK rap and neo-soul, to the point of obsession, and to bring to a prime-time slot a series that gives these genres of music life and texture is absolutely amazing, as is getting to work with some of the best producers making music today to create original tracks for the show."
Inspired by Carraway's memoir Skint Estate (Ebury), “Cash Carraway” is billed by the BBC as “a wild and punky tale of being trapped below the poverty line and doing everything it takes to escape”. Daisy May Cooper, of “This Country”, stars as a young working-class single mum living with her 10-year-old daughter in the brutal, lonely landscape of austerity Britain.
Carraway commented: “The show is a about a brash yet intelligent working-class single mum who not only lives in extreme inner-city poverty, but in a state of ridicule and humiliation as she attempts to improve her life."
Adapted by Bafta-nominated writer Ikoko from Nikki May’s debut novel of the same name, soon to be published by Doubleday, “Wahala” follows three thirtysomething Anglo-Nigerian female friends living in London, successfully navigating a world that mixes roast dinners with jollof rice.
Ikoko said: “It is a fantastic, intriguing, suspenseful story of friendship, rivalry secrecy and revenge; think ‘Big Little Lies’ meets ‘Girlfriends’ meets Peckham. It’s also a really amazing celebration of Nigerian British culture, which I’m a proud flag-bearer of, so it’s going to be a lot of the correct jollof rice, awe-inspiring geles and breathtaking moments."
Additionally Benjamin Myers' acclaimed novel The Gallows Pole (Bloomsbury) will be adapted by Shane Meadows for the actor's first BBC drama commission. It fictionalises the true story of the rise and fall of David Hartley and the Cragg Vale Coiners.
Set against the backdrop of the coming industrial revolution in eighteenth century Yorkshire, the drama follows the enigmatic David Hartley, as he assembles a gang of weavers and land-workers to embark upon a revolutionary criminal enterprise that will become the biggest fraud in British history.
The Gallows Pole was originally published by independent publisher Bluemoose in 2017 and then re-issued by Bloomsbury in 2019.
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