Anthony Andrews, Lenny Henry and Elizabeth Berrington join ‘The Syndicate’

Lenny Henry in Birmingham for ATV
Filming has begun in Yorkshire on the third series of popular BBC One drama The Syndicate, from writer Kay Mellor.

“I’m delighted to be filming series 3 of The Syndicate – I’ve been a big fan of Kay Mellor’s since Band Of Gold and Playing The Field, so to actually be on set with her as writer/director is just lovely.” – Lenny Henry

It’s 2015 and the once impressive Hazelwood Manor, which overlooks all of Scarborough and is the family home of the Hazelwoods, has now fallen into disrepair. Lord Hazelwood (Anthony Andrews, The King’s Speech, Birdsong, Brideshead Revisited) is fading fast, but Lady Hazelwood (Alice Krige, Thor: The Dark World, Spooks), his second wife, seems more concerned with maintaining the lifestyle she’s become accustomed to whilst his stepson Spencer (Sam Phillips, In The Flesh, Pete Versus Life) seems intent on spending his inheritance as quickly as possible. What is left of the estate is rapidly disappearing on fast cars, fancy yachts and living the high life despite rising debts… all behind the back of the ailing Lord Hazelwood.

Meanwhile ‘downstairs’ they have had to seriously reduce their staff; now there are only five left: housekeeper Sarah (Cara Theobold, Downton Abbey, Scrotal Recall, Call The Midwife), cleaner Dawn (Elizabeth Berrington, Stella, Trying Again, Crimson Petal And The White), cook Julie (Melanie Hill, Cilla, Brassed Off, Auf Wiedersehen Pet), groomsman/odd-job man Sean (Richard Rankin, The Crimson Field, Silent Witness, Black Watch) and gardener Godfrey (Lenny Henry, The Magicians, Harry & Paul, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban).

Godfrey formed the lottery syndicate with his colleagues years ago as he was convinced he could work out how to win it mathematically. He is a high functioning person with Asperger’s syndrome and as the series opens he is certain he’s finally cracked the system. He gives cleaner Dawn a list of this week’s ‘winning lottery numbers’ according to his statistics. A series of mishaps ensues and all seems lost – but then it hits them: seemingly against all the odds, they have won £14 million! Everyone is ecstatic. Dawn, pregnant with an unplanned third child, can’t wait to tell her husband Andy (Kieran O’Brien, The Look Of Love, The Last Enemy), son Noah (newcomer Bradley Johnson) and beautiful daughter Amy (Daisy Head, Fallen, When The Heart Calls, Endeavour) who is reluctantly helping her out at Hazelwood Manor but has ambitions to become the next Cara Delevingne. And then, on the night of the win, Amy suddenly goes missing…

“The Syndicate 3 is a completely new series, with a fresh new world and brand-new characters, the staff of a crumbling stately home: the Cook, House Manager, Gardener, Cleaner and Game Keeper. It’s about new money – ordinary people who win a life-changing amount of money on the lottery. I was excited by the idea of setting the syndicate winners amongst the old money of a crumbling stately home, where Lord and Lady Hazelwood’s inherited money is fast running out. It’s a delicious premise which enables me to look at class and social politics within the framework of a drama – ‘downstairs’ becoming instantly wealthier than ‘upstairs’. I’m able to explore how the lack of money and greed have a devastating effect and how a sudden change in fortune can bring about its own problems.” – Kay Mellor

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