Adapted into a screenplay by Shola Amoo (The Last Tree) and directed by Lynette Linton, the series will star Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Malachi Kirby (Small Axe), Monica Dolan (A Very English Scandal), Olivia Williams (Counterpart), Christopher Eccleston (The A Word), Poppy Lee Friar (In My Skin), Shobna Gulati (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) and Cole Martin, who will play the lead, Leon, in his first TV role.
Few TV dramas deserve the epithet “Shakespearean” or “Tolstoyan” more than Peter Flannery’s Our Friends in the North, which turns 25 this year.
The BBC Two series was epic in scale, using more than 160 actors and 3,000 extras to tell the story of post-war Britain, its people and its dirty politics. It is also the tale of four Newcastle friends, who grow up and grow old over three decades. And it is both moving and magnificent.
The ten-part series will see Christopher Eccleston (The A Word) star as Fagin, with David Threlfall taking the role of Sir Charles Rowan, the Chief of Police. Billy Jenkins (The Crown) will star as the titular Dodger, with Saira Choudhury (Life) as Nancy.
Written by Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery, with a guest episode written by Charlie Higson, Dodger will follow the iconic pickpocket and his gang as they weave through London to fulfil Fagin’s light-fingered demands and avoid the hangman’s noose.
Over three series, The A Word has been widely praised for its honest portrayal of autism and the tensions this unleashes on a family. But The A Word is also laugh-out-loud funny and joyful – and, given its Lake District setting, beautiful to look at.
The BBC One drama, which finished its third series in early June, tells the story of Joe, a young boy with autism, and his fractious, larger-than life extended family.
Peter Bowker doesn’t “do diversity”. Yet, over the past couple of decades, this RTS and Bafta award-winning screenwriter has become TV’s “go-to guy” for dramas featuring people with disabilities.
A comic and compelling double act, of Bowker and his long-time collaborator the actor Christopher Eccleston, entertained the RTS North West’s capacity audience at the Lowry in March. They traced the development of Bowker’s work as he has, increasingly, challenged stereotypical representations of people affected by learning disabilities.