BBC Four confirms UK start date for American slavery drama ‘Roots’

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The Emmy nominated Roots will begin airing in the UK next month on BBC Four.

Based on Alex Haley’s novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, A+E Networks’ four-part drama series was broadcast in the US last year to great critical acclaim.

Roots is a modern-day retelling of the life and legacy of Kunta Kinte – a historical portrait of American slavery, recounting the journey of one family and their will to survive, endure and ultimately carry on their legacy despite enormous hardship.

The cast includes Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Rege-Jean Page and Malachi Kirby, alongside Laurence Fishburne, Anika Noni Rose, Matthew Goode, Tip “T.I” Harries, Chad L. Coleman, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Derek Luke, Mekhi Phifer, James Purefoy and Erica Tazel.

Episode 1 will air at 9pm on Wednesday 8 February on BBC Four.

Watch the trailer…

The official synopsis reads: “Spanning multiple generations, the epic saga begins with young Kunta Kinte, who is captured in his homeland of The Gambia and transported in brutal conditions to colonial America, where he’s sold into slavery. Throughout the series, the family continues to face adversity while bearing witness and contributing to notable events in U.S. history, including the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, slave uprisings and eventual emancipation.”

Cassian Harrison, BBC Four Channel Editor commented: “I’m delighted to be bringing this highly acclaimed series to BBC Four. With a terrific cast of both established and upcoming new talent this is a powerful retelling of a story that feels as resonant today as it did when the series was first shown on US TV nearly 40 years ago.”

Sue Deeks, Head of BBC Programme Acquisitions added: “Roots is a tremendous historical saga with great emotional impact. Both production and cast are superb, especially the two young British leads, Malachi Kirby (Kunta Kinte) and Rege-Jean Page (Chicken George). Viewers that remember the original series will be fascinated by the new material that has been uncovered over the intervening years, and new viewers will become engrossed by this compelling television event for their own generation.”

Are you looking forward to Roots? Let us know below…