Hope Springs – Alex Kingston and Annette Crosbie to star in BBC One's new Scottish drama
Acclaimed British actresses Alex Kingston (Doctor Who, ER, Moll Flanders) and Annette Crosbie (Little Dorrit, One Foot In The Grave, Dr Findlay) are among the first cast to be announced as stars of BBC One's Hope Springs, a new eight-part peak-time drama from Shed Productions through BBC Scotland.
Made by the production company behind hit series including Waterloo Road, Bad Girls and Footballers' Wives, Hope Springs is a vibrant, thrilling and funny drama about four fabulous female ex-cons trying to go straight.
The drama is scheduled to start filming on location in Scotland this summer.
Alex Kingston stars as Ellie, the feisty, sexy leader of the female gang.
Along with fellow ex-cons Hannah, Josie and Shoo, Ellie finds herself in hiding in a remote Scottish village called Hope Springs after their plans to start a new life in Barbados – courtesy of £3million stolen from Ellie's gangster husband – go awry.
All they have to do is keep their heads down, assume new identities and plan an escape to their Barbados idyll...
But little do they know that Hope Springs is going to change their lives forever.
Annette Crosbie will play Sadie, local fount of all knowledge (and gossip) whose life gets entangled with the women's soon after their arrival in the village.
The drama is about losing millions, survival, falling in love in unlikely places, making a home and chasing your dreams.
The new drama will also star Christine Bottomley (The Street) as the streetwise Shoo Coggan, a girl with more front than Blackpool.
Details of further casting to follow.
Alex Kingston says: "I rather like the idea of working on a project where there are so many good, strong female roles.
"These girls are ex-cons, so they're not necessarily role models, at least not to start with – they're four women with murky pasts stuck in a remote village in Scotland. Anything can happen!"
And Annette Crosbie is delighted to take on her Hope Springs role.
She says: "Sadie's a real character, a busy-body who is immediately drawn to the feisty strangers who appear in the village out-of-the-blue.
"Hope Springs promises to be a tremendously fun drama to work on and I'm looking forward to filming in Scotland again - it'll be lovely to go home."
Hope Springs is written by Anne McManus, Maureen Chadwick and Liz Lake (Shed Productions).
The first of four filming blocks will be produced by Brian Park who will also executive produce the drama for Shed Productions along with Anne Mensah, BBC Scotland Head of Drama.
Brian Park says: "We're thrilled to have such major screen talent as Alex and Annette fronting Hope Springs.
"They both bring a distinct touch of class to the characters, which, combined with some truly spectacular locations, should make for a fabulous drama.
"It's Shed Productions' first drama in Scotland - and we hope the first of many."
A sparklingly modern fish-out-of-water drama set against the stunning backdrop of gorgeous Scottish scenery, Hope Springs will be filmed on location in Wanlockhead in Dumfries and Galloway, with interior shots being filmed at BBC Scotland's newly developed drama studios in Dumbarton.
It is the latest drama from BBC Scotland to be filmed at the production base which, most recently, has seen productions including PAs (2AM TV, BBC Three) and God On Trial (Hat Trick Productions, BBC Two) – as well as being the home of BBC Scotland's acclaimed soap, River City.
Hope Springs continues in the footsteps of distinctive drama recently made through BBC Scotland, which includes kung-fu action tale Phoo Action (BBC Three) and surreal crime drama The Reichenbach Falls (BBC Four).
It is the latest in a recent wave of exciting BBC One drama commissions for 2008/9, including Merlin (BBC Drama/Shine Limited), Survivors and Tess Of The D'Urbervilles (BBC Drama Productions).
The eight-part series is scheduled to transmit on BBC One in 2009.
Hope Springs is a Shed Production through BBC Scotland for BBC One and is commissioned by Jane Tranter, Controller, Fiction.