BBC Drama Orders Eight New Titles from Across the U.K.


BBC Drama, following the BBC’s stated commitment to increase the portrayal of all audiences across the U.K., has commissioned eight new programs from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

In addition to the new commissions, Jessica Loveland has been appointed head of new writing, leading the new writers’ room based in Salford. Currently head of BFI Network, Loveland will start in June. BBC Drama has also added new commissioning roles across the U.K. to lead on new writer development and support the existing commissioning editors for each of the nations that sit within the drama team.

Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn (The Salisbury Poisonings) have created an original police drama, Blue Lights, from Northern Ireland. The new commissions also include Better, a redemption story set in Leeds from Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley (Humans). Nick Leather pens The Control Room from Scotland, while Wolf, written by Megan Gallagher, is based on Mo Hayder’s acclaimed Jack Caffery novels from Wales. From Ruth Fowler, Rules of the Game, a thriller starring Maxine Peake, is set in the North West.

BBC Three will be home to Nicôle Lecky’s Superhoe, the Clarkson Twins’ Red Rose and Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends. The newer additions include Grime Kids from Theresa Ikoko, set against the backdrop of the birth of grime in ’90s East London; Ryan J Brown’s Wrecked, a comedy horror set aboard a cruise liner; and Domino Day by Lauren Sequeira, a supernatural series set in Manchester that explores the inner turmoil of a young witch who tries to reconcile her dark powers with her quest to find love.

Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, said: “Telling stories that reflect the whole of the U.K. is about more than meeting quotas. It’s about enriching and emboldening what British drama means by honoring the true range of authorship across all of our nations and regions. I want to do more to celebrate that plurality. I want it to become an essential not-so-secret weapon and a core part of our USP.”

Blue Lights writers Adam Patterson and Declan Lawn said: “Belfast is our hometown, and to be able to write a show set in the city we know and love is one of the great privileges of our lives. It’s a real joy to be bringing a major BBC drama back home.”

Better writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley said: “Better asks if a truly bad person can ever become good, and if so, how that could happen. The idea’s been in our heads for ten years, and we’re hugely fortunate to be telling it at last with the help of our old friends at the mighty Sister, in the great city of Leeds—and for BBC One, the perfect home for this very British story.”

The Control Room writer Nick Leather said: “I’ve loved every minute of working with Hartswood and the BBC on The Control Room, and am thankful for the faith and support they’ve shown in me and the project. It’s a head-spinning drama with a heart, and I can’t wait to collaborate with Amy Neil to now bring Gabe and Samantha to life, shooting on location in Scotland.”

Wolf (w/t) writer Megan Gallagher said: “Mo Hayder’s Wolf is a compelling, unique story with a bold, genre-mixing narrative; after reading the book in a single day, I knew I had a gem in my hands. I consider it an honor to bring DI Jack Caffery to BBC One, and working with the experienced, passionate producers at Hartswood and APC Studios is simply icing on the cake.”

Rules of the Game writer Ruth Fowler said: “When we conceived this show it was during the Weinstein scandal, and I was concerned it might have dated in the interim. How sadly wrong I was and I’m honored the BBC and everyone else championing this story did not let it fade away as its relevance has become even more acute. Many women’s experiences (including my own) inspired this fictional show—with the added benefit that in the retelling no women were harmed, maimed or exposed to Harvey. I’m delighted the brave, wonderful and tenacious Maxine Peake is on board to help tell this story.”

Grime Kids writer Theresa Ikoko said: “I’m really excited to be part of bringing this show to life. I hope it celebrates and cements the contribution of young people across the country, to British history, art and culture.”

DJ Target added: “I’m beyond excited for this story to be brought to life on screen. It’s a real testament to how far U.K. music has come over the years, which is something that needs to be celebrated. Working with Theresa Ikoko and the mighty Mammoth Screen is a real honor, and I can’t wait for everybody to see this.”

Wrecked writer Ryan J Brown said: “I’m incredibly excited to be setting sail with the BBC and Euston Films. In Wrecked, the kills are brutal, the laughs are loud, and the heartfelt moments land with real candor. I wanted to create a piece of genre entertainment that had the savvy teen sharpness of Scream, the unsettling atmosphere of The Shining and the strange upstairs, downstairs mythology of Cabin in the Woods. At its core, Wrecked is a tense coming-of-age story about a lost, gay kid from Sheffield propelled into uncharted waters of escalating paranoia and self-discovery.”

Domino Day writer, creator and executive producer Lauren Sequeira said: “I’m over the (full) moon to be doing this project with the BBC and Dancing Ledge Productions, who have really championed my career from the start. I wanted to write a supernatural series that wasn’t only thrilling and twisty but also tapped into the very real dating scene and how it affects modern relationships. I can’t wait for the audience to meet Domino Day, and couldn’t imagine a better team than DLP—after being their writer-in-resident, many moons ago, it feels right that they’ll now be producing my first original series.”