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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Christopher Eccleston and Mackenzie Crook take lead roles in opening episodes of Accused, compelling new drama series from Jimmy McGovern for BBC One

Update – 11 August 2010: this press release posted on 11 May 2010 has been updated to reflect the fact that Marc Warren has been added to the cast list.

Update – 23 July 2010: this press release posted on 11 May 2010 has been updated to reflect the fact that Naomie Harris has been added to the cast list.

Update – 11 June 2010: this press release posted on 11 May 2010 has been updated to reflect the fact that Juliet Stevenson, Peter Capaldi and Andy Serkis have been added to the cast list.

Christopher Eccleston (Lennon Naked, Doctor Who) and Mackenzie Crook (Pirates Of The Caribbean) are to star in new BBC One six-part drama Accused, by Jimmy McGovern, later this year.

Award-winning film, television and stage actors Juliet Stevenson, CBE, (Place Of Execution, Truly, Madly, Deeply); Peter Capaldi, who scooped a Bafta for In The Thick Of It last Sunday; and actor Andy Serkis (The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, Einstein And Eddington) have also been cast to star in the latest episodes of the drama, which starts filming shortly.

Naomie Harris (Blood And Oil, Small Island, Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll) plays Alison, a mum under pressure who is in total disbelief when she finds herself in the dock. Alison's Story starts filming in Manchester on 28 July and comes to BBC One later this year.

Marc Warren (Worried About The Boy, Hustle) joins the stellar cast of actors portraying men and women who end up in the dock and plays Kenny Armstrong, a devoted father and husband who, in the heat of the moment, acts against his better judgement and lives to regret it. The episode starts shooting in and around Manchester from 15-30 August.

Christopher Eccleston and Mackenzie Crook play the leading characters in the first two episodes of Accused; separate stories which open as an ordinary individual is led to the dock to hear his or her fate.

As each hour-long episode unravels viewers learn how each person came to be there. But on reflection should they be the accused? Are they innocent or guilty or somewhere in between? And will the jury make the right judgement?

Juliet Stevenson stars as a mother fighting for justice for her only son, in Helen's Story.

When teacher Helen sends her beloved son, Rob, off to his first day of temping work at a local factory she has no idea that she and his father, Frank (Peter Capaldi), will never see him again. And so begins a heart-rending tale of fortitude and endless love.

In Liam's Story, Andy Serkis, last seen as Albert Einstein on BBC Two, stars as Liam, a cab driver who is desperate to escape the drudgery of his everyday life.

One day, Emma, a beautiful, vibrant young woman, is a passenger in his cab. Liam is instantly smitten and dreams he can be everything to her – but can he?

RSJ Films, the independent television and film drama production company founded in August 2009 by Jimmy McGovern, Sita Williams and Roxy Spencer, the creative team responsible for the multi-award winning BBC One hit The Street, begins filming Accused, an unflinching contemporary six-part drama, this month.

Jimmy McGovern says: "In the time it takes to climb the steps to the court we tell the story of how the accused came to be here. We see the crime and we see the punishment. Nothing else. No police procedure, thanks very much, no coppers striding along corridors with coats flapping. Just crime and punishment – the two things that matter most in any crime drama.

"It's great to work with Chris again and I've often tried in the past to get Mackenzie into something of mine. And needless to say, it's wonderful to reunite the team that made The Street."

Polly Hill, BBC Commissioning Editor, says: "After three wonderful, award-winning series of The Street, we are thrilled the same team are making Accused for BBC One. The first commission for RSJ Films, Jimmy McGovern, Sita Williams and Roxy Spencer, together with David Blair, continue to make drama that is relevent, challenging and above all moving. I'm sure this will prove to be a real treat for the BBC One audience."

Accused was commissioned by BBC One Controller Jay Hunt, and Ben Stephenson, Controller of Drama Commissioning, and is executive produced for the BBC by Polly Hill, Commissioning Editor, Independent Drama. Sita Williams is the producer and executive producer for RSJ Films.

Christopher Eccleston stars as a man in turmoil in Willy's Story by Jimmy McGovern, which starts filming on 30 May. Lapsed Catholic Willy does his best; he's a good plumber and a loving father, but he fails to be a faithful husband.

Just when Willy is about to confess to his wife Carmel, played by Pooky Quesnel, his daughter announces she's getting married. Willy's guilty secret must wait while pressure from all sides keeps growing. He is about to implode when he finds something in the back of a cab and it's either the answer to his prayers or the beginning of his downfall...

Mackenzie Crook stars as Buckley, a soldier's soldier – a man you need on your side if you are to survive. The Soldier Story is written by Jimmy McGovern and begins filming on 10 May.

Newcomers Benjamin Smith and Ben Batt play Frankie Nash and Peter McShane respectively, two friends who join the British army. Soon they are on the frontline in Afghanistan where they learn that not obeying orders has deadly consequences, and that the enemy are not necessarily who you think they are. Robert Pugh plays Peter McShane Senior, an army veteran who is proud to have a son in the military keeping the family tradition alive.

A further four episodes of Accused film in and around Manchester until the end of August this year and further casting will be announced shortly.

The directors are David Blair (The Street), (eps 1, 2, 5 & 6) and Richard Laxton (An Englishman In New York), (eps 3 & 4).


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