ITV has commissioned a new drama written by Sir Lenny Henry entitled Three Little Birds.
Inspired by his mother’s stories of leaving Jamaica in the 1950s for Great Britain, Henry has created six fictional episodes charting the adventures of two outgoing sisters, Leah and Chantrelle, and their virtuous acquaintance Hosanna.
When the trio, from St Anne’s district in Jamaica, board a cruise ship heading for Great Britain, they leave their family, friends and old lives behind to forge new horizons on the other side of the Atlantic.
However, big city life proves too fast-paced when they arrive in London’s Notting Hill, and the group head for the Midlands. The road to making Britain their new home is full of difficult obstacles, but Leah, Chantrelle and Hosanna overcome racism and discrimination to build a new life in the 1950s.
Sir Lenny Henry said: “My mother spoke often about how difficult life was back in the day when she first arrived in Britain to begin her new life. The stories she told and indeed the narratives my brothers and sisters beguiled me with over the dinner table made me think about writing a fictional account of three Caribbean women; all with differing yet complementary attributes - a serious tenacious one, a quick-witted flibbertigibbet and a Christian prude.
"They all get to the UK with one thing on their minds - a new life. Although these are fictional accounts, my mother’s narrative will run throughout these stories and hopefully, the stories of other post-Windrush arrivals will trigger memories, smiles and tears too.
"For me, a life-long dream has come true. This series will be a tribute to the giants who came before us and walked cold streets to create new lives for themselves.”
Produced by Douglas Road Productions in association with Tiger Aspect productions, Henry has written Three Little Birds in consultation with writer Russell T Davies (A Very English Scandal), who will also executive produce the drama.
Details of casting will be announced at a later date.