The BBC has put together a star-studded cast for The Long Song, a three-part series about slavery in the 19th century. Hayley Atwell, Tamara Lawrance, Jack Lowden and Sir Lenny Henry have all signed up for roles.
Atwell is best known for her starring role in Marvel’s Agent Carter, and she made a triumphant return to British dramas with Howards End. Tamara Lawrance has been seen recently in Undercover, and Jack Lowden was in War & Peace. Sir Lenny, of course, is one of our nation’s funny men, and he’s also shown a serious side in the likes of Broadchurch.
The Long Song is based on the book of the same name by Andre Leavy, which focused on the British slavery in Jamaica. The synopsis for the series reads thusly:
“During a time of social unrest and turmoil, this powerful story is told from July’s perspective as she looks back over her life; the tone is funny, defiant and indomitable. It’s a story about the injustices that humans inflict upon each other and the unexpected ways in which people’s humanity sometimes overrules their prejudices.”
Lawrance, who has taken on the central role of July, said this:
“Every day at work is enlightening. A real blessing to be amongst this cast and crew, playing a character as subversive as July. She relishes mutiny with wit and courage; finding ways to win in spite of her circumstances. She also rings true to Jamaica’s national heroes – Nanny, Paul Bogle and Sam Sharpe — who, by standing up for their own humanity, shifted world history. I believe stories like these illuminate the legacy of slavery in relation to where we are today. It’s all still relevant!”
And Atwell said this:
“I am delighted to be part of this beautiful story written with warmth, sensitivity, humour and intelligence by Andrea Levy. Playing the deeply flawed Caroline Mortimer is a thrilling challenge and entirely new territory for me as an actor. Audiences will fall in love with the story’s remarkable heroine, July, who endures on-going abuses of power with dignity and poise, surviving injustices that were devastatingly prevalent during this time and place in history. It is a story that demands to be told.”
This three-part miniseries is expected to air on BBC One. It was directed by Mahalia Belo.
We’ll bring you more news as we hear it.