Jimmy McGovern writing historical drama for BBC Two

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McGovern commented: “In 1787 when Britain banished its petty thieves, whores, orphans and highwaymen – to Sydney Cove, a place so hot and barren and hostile that very few people had ever set foot there. It was an audacious social experiment, unparalled before or since. Yet these rejects from Britain, accompanied by soldiers, officers, a vicar and a doctor, survived against all the odds, in spite of famine, drought, escapes, hangings and floggings, the colony thrived. This is their story.”

The official synopsis reads: “This fictional account of human courage and endeavour, love, loss and terrible choices begins several months after the First Fleet has arrived. It is told through the eyes of three convicts: James Freeman, Tommy Barrett and Elizabeth Quinn. Their passionate friendship is a rollercoaster of survival set between the deadly, bush and the infinite blue of the mighty Pacific Ocean.”

A title and casting will be announced in the coming months.

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