The BBC is planning a new ambitious drama series for BBC Two which would be a 21st century of the acclaimed 1990s series Our Friends in the North. The new drama, revolving around women, will be written by the respected writer Paula Milne and is the first big commissioning for BBC Two since the corporation allocated extra funds for drama on the channel. It also comes just days after Ben Stephenson, controller of drama, warned that some of the BBC’s long-running shows could be axed to make way for fresh, new and innovative drama.
The BBC is planning a new ambitious drama series for BBC Two which would be a 21st century of the acclaimed 1990s series Our Friends in the North. The new drama, revolving around women, will be written by the respected writer Paula Milne who recently adapted Small Island for BBC One. The drama is in the same spirit of Peter Flannery’s 1990’s series Our Friends in the North. It will follow the lives of several London based students from 1965 through to the present day and will firmly revolve around women. Paula Milne is writing the first two episodes of the new series – provisionally titled White Heat – which will be produced by Jeff Pope for ITV Studios.
The project is the first big scale commissioning for BBC Two after the corporation allocated extra funds to develop more drama output on the channel. The BBC want newer drama’s to air on the channel and also several returning dramas in the 10pm slot on BBC Two. The announcement of the new project also comes just days after Ben Stephenson, controller of drama, warned that some of the corporation’s longer running dramas would be axed to make way for newer shows.
Although the likes of Waterloo Road, Casualty, Holby City and New Tricks are thought to be safe other dramas such as Hustle, Waking the Dead, Casualty 1909 and Silent Witness could all be axed by the BBC. Spy series Spooks has been re-commissioned for another season but there are, as yet, no firm plans for a 10th season of the drama. Criminal Justice, which aired a second season earlier this year to disappointing ratings, may be culled by Stephenson. It has yet to be re-commissioned and is likely not to be in light of its poor performance. However, Wallander – which recently aired a second season to solid ratings – will be back for a third season as will Inspector George Gently and Being Human.