One Child crosses the world as a young Chinese-born woman, adopted by Anglo-American parents, struggles with who she really is and where her loyalties lie.
The three part contemporary thriller is written by BAFTA award-winning Guy Hibbert who wanted to look at the emotional effects of China’s 35-year-old One Child policy – which is coming to an end in March this year. It is directed by John Alexander.
One Child is about a girl who has been born in China and adopted by a British-based family, having been abandoned by her real Chinese family under the One Child policy. As a young woman, Mei is having a successful academic career and she’s contacted out of the blue one day by her real Chinese mother who wants her to come back to China because her brother, who she didn’t know had even been born after her and who became his mother’s one child, is on a murder charge for a crime he didn’t commit. So Mei travels back to China and it’s an exploration of her coming to terms with, and understanding, her own cultural background and identity. It’s also an investigation of the Chinese criminal justice system, how it works and where the inequalities in it lie. – Hilary Salmon, executive producer
Mei, played by Katie Leung, is asked to return to her birthplace, Guangzhou, when her birth mother, Liu Ying desperately seeks her assistance in saving her son, Ajun. How far will Mei go to help the woman who gave her away and the brother she’s never met? One Child takes a new look at what it means to be family. Mardy Ma, Sebastian So, Linh Dan Pham, Donald Sumpter and Elizabeth Perkins also star in this tense and gripping drama.
I’ve always been a fan of Guy Hibbert’s writing. He always finds subjects that have a strong contemporary resonance and when I was offered a script of Guy’s to read that was set in China, I knew it would be an interesting piece. China is a country that we have such a close relationship with but one that we don’t really know that much about. I thought it would be an interesting world to explore and I thought Guy had done a fantastic job of pulling together a story that not only gave us an insight into a judicial system and a society, but also a great emotional story about a young woman finding her own identity, discovering her mother and having to make tough choices between an adopted family and a birth mother. I thought that was a powerful mix and as a father of three girls myself, I found it very moving when I read it. I didn’t take much convincing. – John Alexander, director
One Child is co-produced by BBC In-House Drama England Production and Sundance TV. The hour long episodes will air on BBC Two shortly.