BBC Unveils Mega 12-Show Drama Slate Featuring ‘Dear England’ Adaptation Starring Joseph Fiennes, Aimee Lou Wood’s Debut Writing Project & Rebecca Hall-Led Series From Element

Feb 22, 2024 6:03 am | entertainment, News

The BBC has unveiled its biggest drama slate in years featuring a TV version of James Graham play Dear England starring Joseph Fiennes from The Crown producer Left Bank, Sex Education star Aimee Lou Wood‘s debut writing project and a Rebecca Hall-starrer from Poor Things maker Element.

Unveiled at a glitz London do for press and producers, the 12-strong roster, which features some of Britain’s best and brightest talents, is the first from new Drama Director Lindsay Salt, who took over from A24’s Piers Wenger 18 months ago.

Scroll down for the full slate below, which features an adaptation of Sherwood creator Graham’s Dear England about the England soccer manager Gareth Southgate – the play of which has taken London by storm and recently transferred to the West End. Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale) will reprize his role as Southgate and Graham will pen the TV version, which provides a fictionalized account of the struggles and successes of England’s soccer team and features actors playing major stars including Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.

Dear England is Crown maker Left Bank’s first BBC series since 2017’s Pls Like and the Sony-backed indie has two on the slate, having also secured Liverpool-set drama This City is Ours, which comes from The Last Kingdom scribe Stephen Butchard and is about an organized crime boss who falls in love.

Elsewhere, Wood’s Film Club, which she is also starring in and is produced by Gaumont, is the Sex Education breakout’s debut writing project and follows two people in love without realizing it who take part in a film club each week. Wood, who is also appearing in White Lotus Season 3 along with another BBC show, Daddy Issues, stars and writes alongside Ralph Davis (SAS Rogue Heroes).

The BBC has attracted star power with BAFTA-winning Vicky Cristina Barcelona actress Hall leading an adaptation of Jordan Tannahill’s The Listeners. Hall plays an English teacher who begins to hear a low humming sound that no one else can hear, which slowly drives her mad. Deadline revealed the show’s development last March and Poor Things producer Element is producing with Janicza Bravo – whose past credits include Zola, Mrs America and Them – directing. Hall is also starring in James L. Brooks’ next movie Ella McCay and Tessa Thompson’s similarly-named helpline drama The Listener.

The British broadcaster has also greenlit a spin-off of Abi Morgan’s popular legal drama The Split titled The Split Up, following the high-stakes world of Manchester’s divorce law circuit where one family of lawyers, the Kishans, reigns supreme. The show comes from Ursula Rani Sarma (Smother) and is being produced by Chernobyl maker Sister’s northern hub.

A24, for which Wenger now runs the London office, is adapting Kaliane Bradley’s upcoming novel The Ministry of Time with Normal People scribe Alice Birch, and there are also greenlights for Baby Reindeer creator Richard Gadd, BAFTA-nominated Scrapper director Charlotte Regan and deaf writer William Mager.

The BBC has also thrown its weight behind Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson’s Northern Irish police drama Blue Lights by greenlighting Seasons 3 and 4 before the second has even aired.

“I believe that the BBC is the only place that can promise true boldness and braveness in all our decision making,” said Salt, who joined from Netflix in summer 2022. “In an era of caution, it’s our time to shine.”

The new shows

Dear EnglandTV drama version of James Graham’s play starring Joseph Fiennes, who plays England soccer manager Gareth Southgate.

Film Club Aimee Lou Wood screenwriting debut about two people in love without realizing it who attend a weekly film get-together.

Lions – Richard Gadd series about a man whose estranged brother’s arrival at his wedding leads to an explosion of violence that catapults the viewer back through four decades.

Mint Darkly comic drama about three generations from Scrapper director Charlotte Regan.

ReunionAbout a man who embodies the struggle of someone caught between two worlds, unable to fully integrate into the hearing world and shunned by the deaf community, from deaf scribe William Mager.

The Dream Lands Coming-of-age Margate-set story with a twist based on Rosa Rankin-Gee’s Dreamland penned by BAFTA-winner Kayleigh Llewellyn.

The ListenersRebecca Hall-starrer from Poor Things producer Element about a teacher who begins to hear a low humming sound that no one else around her can hear.

The Ministry of Time A24 show about a newly-established government department gathering ‘expats’ from across history in a time travel experiment.

The Split UpSpin-off of Abi Morgan’s popular legal drama following a family of divorce lawyers in Manchester.

This City is OursLiverpool-set romance from The Crown producer Left Bank and Stephen Butchard.

We Go Again Comedy drama about three stubbornly optimistic siblings with a dark secret from award-winning writer Janice Okoh (Sanditon).

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