‘Outcasts’ press launch

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Last night we went along to BBC One’s press launch for their epic new drama series Outcasts, from the makers of Spooks and Life On Mars. Following a screening of the first episode (and a spoilerific 5-minute preview for the rest of the series that we didn’t have the self control to look away from), cast members Liam Cunningham and Hermione Norris were joined by writer/creator Ben Richards (Spooks, The Fixer) and the show’s producers for a Q&A.

Watch the trailer…

What’s it about?

“A group of courageous pioneers face a unique opportunity: the chance to build a new and better future on another planet.”

Who’s in it?

Alongside Liam Cunningham and Hermione Norris, the cast includes Daniel Mays (Ashes to Ashes), Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Gallactica), Eric Mabius (Resident Evil), Ashley Walters (Small Island), Amy Manson (Desperate Romantics) and Michael Legge (Shameless).

What’s it like?

Based on Hermione Norris’s comments in the press conference, it sounds like the South Africa-based shoot was a pretty tough experience, so it’s a relief to be able to say that the cast and crew’s perseverance has definitely paid off. While the locations never entirely convince as a distant planet, the landscapes on show here could never have been recreated in, say, Cardiff and give the show a truly unique look. Visually, Kudos have really outdone themselves with Outcasts‘ production values and CGI work that trumps the American likes of V hands down.

Fortunately the drama itself is also strong, if not immediately gripping, but then the first episode does have a hell of a lot of establishing exposition to cram in. We’re thrown straight into the story from the start and some sci-fi wary viewers might have appreciated a title card to explain at the basic set up. The narrative also suffers slightly due to having a fairly large ensemble cast, with no obvious leads for us to latch on to. In the style of Spooks, however, this does raise the stakes as we realise that any character could meet an early demise.

All in all, Outcasts looks like terrific stuff, with the action-packed preview hinting at the story heading in some unpredictable and intriguing directions.

When does it start?

The 8-part series is currently pencilled in to begin in mid-February.

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