Wednesday 16 Apr 2014
The team at Section D is in mourning following the tragic death of Ros Myers, who was killed in an explosion while trying to save the British Home Secretary, as the award-winning spy drama returns for its ninth series. Section Chief Harry Pearce is hit particularly hard by the loss and he's dismayed to learn that a trusted friend has blood on their hands. Harry wants revenge and will stop at nothing to get it.
One month later, Lucas North boards a ship in Tangier to track rising Somalian Al Qaeda star, Abib. Alongside Lucas is Special Boat Service (SBS) agent Dimitri Levendes, who is masquerading as the ship's captain. An unexpected interruption from what appears to be Somali pirates puts Lucas in mortal danger. His unlikely saviour is an Eastern European prostitute, who he later discovers is undercover mercenary Beth Bailey, also sent to track Abib.
The pirates are a much bigger threat than first anticipated – they are in fact an Al Qaeda cell who have smuggled explosives onboard and are headed for the UK.
After escaping the ship and returning to London, Lucas and the rest of Section D concentrate on stopping the floating bomb. Beth, who is keen for a job on the Grid, turns up unexpectedly with information about the boat. Harry remembers Beth from the past and is unsure whether she can be trusted but, with time running out, the team has no other option. Harry is forced into taking drastic action to prevent a terrorist attack that could hit Britain at its very heart – the Houses of Parliament.
Meanwhile, Lucas is shocked when he is visited by an unwelcome ghost from his past.
Harry Pearce is played by Peter Firth, Lucas North by Richard Armitage, Abib by Peter Bankole, Dimitri Levendes by Max Brown and Beth Bailey by Sophia Myles.
Excluded is a part-improvised topical drama which exposes the realities and struggles that some inner-city schools are facing today.
Ian is a newly qualified maths teacher in a London school, battling to control his unruly class.
He comes up against Mark, a troubled and unpopular pupil who is rejected by both staff and pupils, and at first the two clash. Mark's home life is tough and is impacting on his schooling. In time, though, Ian begins to connect with him and win his trust, discovering he has skills in maths.
Meanwhile, head teacher Amanda is under pressure to make improvements to her underperforming institution. She's hoping to form a partnership with a local Academy, but first needs to prove that her school is making progress. A mutinous teaching staff, investment cuts in the school and a growing problem with disruptive students, such as Mark, are forcing her to make some tough decisions. Should she exclude the problem pupils to help the school improve its performance?
When Mark gets into an angry confrontation with yet another teacher, Gary, it appears that his fate is sealed; he swiftly finds himself facing permanent exclusion. Ian must decide whether to put his fledgling career in jeopardy to try to save his unlikely protégé or stay quiet.
Excluded focuses on the hot topics and challenges in education today – exclusion, Academy schools and significant cutbacks in investment. It is a fast-turnaround factual drama: conceived, filmed and brought to the screen within six months.
Neither Bryan Dick nor Craig Parkinson, who play teachers Ian and Gary, had the easiest of experiences during their time at school, so they could relate to Mark's story and the characters' frustrations. Cast with young actors, some of whom have had experiences similar to those portrayed, this drama was also the first time onscreen for many of them, including George Whitehead (Mark).
The different backgrounds of the production team brought a range of approaches and skills to the piece. Careful research; incorporating a flexible way of working on set through the use of improvisation; and featuring music from new bands are some of the methods used to give the drama an authentic, contemporary feel.
Scripted by acclaimed writer Brian Fillis (The Curse Of Steptoe and An Englishman In New York) and created by Ben Bickerton (producer, The Curse Of Steptoe), Excluded is directed by Bafta-nominated Misha Manson-Smith (Stanley Park, La La Land) and produced by Caroline Levy (Cape Wrath, Apparitions, Rough Justice), with co-executive producers for the BBC, Meredith Chambers (editor, Cutting Edge, Between Life And Death, The Seven Sins Of England) from BBC Knowledge and Eleanor Moran (Enid, The Deep) from BBC Drama.
Ian is played by Bryan Dick (Shameless, Bleak House, Blackpool), Mark by George Whitehead, Amanda by Monica Dolan (Occupation) and Gary by Craig Parkinson (Misfits, Whitechapel, Control).
Excluded is simulcast on the BBC HD channel – the BBC's High Definition channel, available through Freesat 108, Freeview 50, Sky 143 and Virgin 108.
Excluded is part of BBC Two's School Season – a range of programming, on air throughout September, encompassing documentary, drama and debate, with additional information at bbc.co.uk/schoolseason. This major season on education focuses on schools and the tough choices parents have to make.
Britain's Youngest Boarders follows the lives of three boys as they leave home for the first time to begin boarding at a prep school. The film tells the story of Luke, Louis and Dominic during their first term at Sunningdale, a family-run prep school in Berkshire. It educates 100 boys, the vast majority of whom go on to top public schools such as Eton and Harrow.
With exclusive access to the school, the documentary offers a fascinating insight into a world many know little about. This story of modern boarding-school life is told through the eyes of the boys themselves.
Eight-year-old Luke is joining his older brother, James, at the school. The school's system of "fortnightly orders" – which ranks pupils in each class – reveals Luke's academic gift.
Eleven-year-old Dominic has travelled half-way around the world, from Shanghai, to come to the school. He thinks his mum will find being apart for the 10-week term harder than he will. His dream is to attend an English public school and, following his interview for Harrow, he hopes to be one of the lucky ones to be offered a place there.
Ten-year-old Louis starts at Sunningdale after leaving his state school in north London. Tearful and homesick, he struggles at first. Getting into the football team and being made captain goes some way to helping him feel better. The school staff and older boys offer advice on how to cope with missing his family.
From the daily chapel services to the headmaster's weekly dormitory check, and the boys' very first night, the film explores how the boys take to becoming boarders, a life-changing event for each of them.
This series is part of BBC Two's School Season – a range of programming, on air throughout September, encompassing documentary, drama and debate, with additional information at bbc.co.uk/schoolseason. This major season on education focuses on schools and the tough choices parents have to make.
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