BBC Four has acquired the UK premiere of Emmy nominated, four-part series Roots.

BBC Four

“Roots is a tremendous historical saga with great emotional impact. Both production and cast are superb, especially the two young British leads, Malachi Kirby and Regé-Jean Page. Viewers that remember the original series will be fascinated by the new material that has been uncovered over the intervening years, and new viewers will become engrossed by this compelling television event for their own generation.” – Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisitions

Broadcast earlier this year to great critical acclaim in the states where it was described as “powerful, must-see television”, Roots is a fresh, modern-day retelling of the life and legacy of Kunta Kinte – a historical portrait of American slavery, recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their legacy despite enormous hardship.

Based on Alex Haley’s novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, whose 1977 TV adaptation remains one of the most-watched dramas in US TV history, this powerful story remains as relevant today as it was nearly forty years ago.

Spanning multiple generations, the epic saga begins with young Kunta Kinte, who is captured in his homeland of The Gambia and transported in brutal conditions to colonial America, where he’s sold into slavery. Throughout the series, the family continues to face adversity while bearing witness and contributing to notable events in U.S. history, including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and eventual emancipation.

The story of Kunta Kinte and the women and men who came after him echoes through the history of millions of Americans of African descent, and reveals powerful truths about the universal resilience of the human spirit.

The series’ cast includes Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Regé-Jean Page, Malachi Kirby, Laurence Fishburne, Anika Noni Rose, Matthew Goode, Tip “T.I” Harries, Chad L. Coleman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Derek Luke, Mekhi Phifer, James Purefoy and Erica Tazel.

“I’m delighted to be bringing this highly acclaimed series to BBC Four. With a terrific cast of both established and upcoming new talent this is a powerful retelling of a story that feels as resonant today as it did when the series was first shown on US TV nearly 40 years ago.” – Cassian Harrison, BBC Four Channel Editor

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