Secrets And Words

Date: 09.03.2012     Last updated: 25.03.2014 at 13.20
Category: BBC One; Drama; Learning
Phil Davis (Whitechapel, Sherlock), Julie Graham (Survivors, Bonekickers, At Home With The Braithwaites), Tony Maudsley (Garrow’s Law, Being Human, Benidorm), Sarah Smart (At Home With The Braithwaites, Sparkhouse); Susie Blake (Coronation Street, Wild At Heart), Kaye Wragg (The Lakes, No Angels), Derek Riddell (Five Days, Ugly Betty) and Ramona Marquez (Outnumbered) are to star in a new contemporary drama series for BBC One Daytime.

A joint BBC Learning and Daytime commission, Secrets And Words is five stand-alone episodes, stripped over one week, all linked by the common theme of adult literacy.

*It is estimated that 5.1 million adults (up to 1 in 6) have difficulty with everyday reading and writing (below Level 1 - the level to read and write well in everyday life). The dramas explore the day-to-day struggles they face alongside the impact on their marriages, friendships, parenting and jobs.

The films, made by Liverpool-based LA Productions (Moving On, Justice), all feature adult characters who face some degree of difficulty reading and writing. In the late Seventies the series On The Move, starring Bob Hoskins, was a catalyst in an extremely effective literacy campaign, which helped tens of thousands of people. Today’s writers were challenged to come up with compelling contemporary drama that will serve as the lynchpin of the new BBC Learning project to tackle adult literacy levels today.

By telling powerful stories about their lives, BBC Learning hopes the dramas will raise awareness of how low levels of literacy and a lack of confidence in these skills affect millions of adults across the UK.

Head of Commissioning, BBC Learning, Abigail Appleton, said: "I hope these dramas will engage the widest possible audience and help raise awareness of just how many adults from different backgrounds lack confidence in reading and writing. I'd be thrilled if people are inspired to seek advice on how to brush up their own reading and writing skills or encourage close family and friends to be more confident and make less of a secret of such a widespread experience."

Secrets And Words will be executive produced Abigail Appleton for BBC Learning, Liam Keelan for BBC Daytime and Colin McKeown for LA Productions.

The series has been filmed on location in and around Liverpool and will be shown in Spring 2012.

In Love Letters, written by Nick Leather, JJ discovers love letters in his wife’s wardrobe. Unable to read them himself he enlists the help of his daughter's teacher but what secrets and lies will be uncovered along the way?

In Help Me If You Can, written by Jaden Clark, Valerie struggles to read the prescriptions in the chemist where she works and is left terrified when a regular customer collapses, could she be to blame?

A Study In Time, written by Esther Wilson, explores the impact on Sam's relationship with girlfriend Naomi when he loses his ability to read and write following a tragic accident.

The Crossing, written by Arthur Ellison, explores the unlikely friendship between lollipop lady Kathleen, and 10-year-old Megan, whose mother has left her to run off with another man. But will Kathleen’s inability to read and write jeopardize the relationship and leave the little girl feeling abandoned for a second time?

In Mightier Than The Sword, written by Lyn Papadopoulos, Jackie and John appear to have the perfect marriage but all is not as it seems and, when Jackie decides to take secret adult literacy lessons, their seemingly perfect life begins to unravel.

BBC Daytime Controller Liam Keelan says: "I'm very proud of what we've achieved with Secrets and Words. These are five very powerful dramas in their own right, but are cleverly unified by the lead characters’ struggle to read and write."