Polly Hill, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning has announced over thirty-five hours of new productions to air in 2016 across BBC One and BBC Two.
“I’m proud to announce this range of over 35 hours of new drama and to continue the BBC’s commitment to backing original, ambitious drama. I want the BBC to be the best creative home for writers and it’s exciting to bring audiences new shows from Mike Bartlett, Jimmy McGovern, Jo Ahearne and Hugo Blick; plus have Kenneth Lonnergan, Connor McPherson and Kris Mrksa all writing their first dramas for us. They include state of the nation drama about contemporary Britain, to crime series that offer a fresh take on a much loved genre.” – Polly Hill, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning
Howards End is a four part drama for BBC One. Written by Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and playwright Kenneth Lonergan and based on the classic E.M. Forster novel originally published in 1910, this miniseries of hour long episodes, explores the changing landscape of social and class divisions inturn of the century England through the prism of three families: the intellectual and idealistic Schlegels, the wealthy Wilcoxes from the world of business, and the working class Basts.
In Press the hour long episodes, over six editions, is set in the world of newspapers – its past riven by hacking scandals, its present at the mercy of the digital age and the 24 hour news cycle, its future uncertain. Press, for BBC One, is written by Mike Bartlett, creator of Doctor Foster and winner of two 2015 Olivier Awards for different plays, including the critically acclaimed King Charles III. While in Broken Jimmy McGovern and Colin McKeown,bring to BBC One a six part series for prime time set in Liverpool. It plots, across the hour long episodes, the perspective of a local catholic priest Father Michael Kerrigan and that of his congregation and their struggle with both Catholicism and contemporary Britain.
The Replacement is a three part psychological thriller for BBC One, written and directed by Joe Ahearne. When Ellen, a successful architect in her mid-thirties, falls pregnant, she finds maternity cover in Paula: brilliant, enthusiastic and raring to go. Ellen wants to champion her, but something’s not right. Ellen begins to fear for her safety when she suspects her maternity cover has a disturbing agenda. Can her suspicions be explained away as female rivalry and her own insecurity of opting out of work at the top of her game… or do they speak to something deeper? This chilling mini-series examines the darker side of working women, motherhood and the issues that arise from making “the right choice”.
While in Requiem this BBC One drama explores what happens when your parent die and you suddenly discover that everything they’d said about themselves, and about you, was untrue. Requiem is part psychological thriller – the story of a young woman, who, in the wake of her mother’s death, sets out to learn the truth about herself, even to the point of unravelling her own identity. But it is also a subtle tale of the supernatural that avoids giving easy answers, playing instead on uncertainty, mystery and ambiguity. The six hour long episodes have been written & created by Kris Mrksa.
Woman in White, for BBC One, is a four part series of hour long episodes. When Walter Hartright encounters a ghostly woman dressed all in white on a moonlit road, he soon finds himself drawn into a mysterious and disturbing world. Romance, suspense, and danger combine as secrets come to the fore in Wilkie Collins’s haunting tale of insanity and identity – viewed by many as the first detective novel, The Woman In White will take viewers on a thrilling ride down the paths and corridors of English country houses and, ultimately, into the depths of the Victorian madhouse.
For BBC Two BAFTA-winner Hugo Blick returns to the channel with Black Earth Rising, a series set in Africa. The drama is a long form thriller which, through the prism of a black Anglo-American family, examines the West’s relationship with contemporary Africa by exploring issues of justice, guilt, and self-determination.
Three part series Paula has been written by Conor McPherson, and is described by the beeb as a ‘revenge drama’ about a brief encounter that ends in violence. In his first original television series, Paula is Conor’s unique twist on a crime and relationship drama, where a man and a woman get locked into a battle driven by vengeance.
“Over the next year, I will continue to reinvent and broaden the range of drama on the BBC and it is because we make great drama for everyone that we can offer audiences and the creative community something unique and distinct.” – Polly Hill, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning