Charlotte Moore and Ben Stephenson outline vision for next generation of drama on BBC One

I want to expand the range and ambition of new drama on BBC One, and challenge ourselves to be even more original and distinctive."Charlotte Moore, Controller, BBC One
Date: 28.02.2014     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.02
BBC One today exclusively reveals it is to become the new home of Agatha Christie in the UK and makes a series of new commission and casting announcements.

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “BBC One views all audiences as equal - it's our creative mission to deliver the broadest variety of drama in the world on the biggest channel in the UK. We want all audiences to find drama on BBC One that they passionately love - whatever their taste or demographic.

"With Tony and Danny's support, Charlotte and I are excited to build on BBC One drama's tremendous start to the year and feel emboldened that audiences are looking for even more high quality and surprising stories.

"Our message to writers is that BBC One offers them the biggest stage in Britain for their work at whatever length is right for the story, unlike the demands of international broadcasters.

"We believe that crucial to all creative success is raising our game - not looking at what worked yesterday but what could work tomorrow. Over the next few years, we will continue to challenge ourselves in order to lead the pack in this fast changing television drama landscape."

Charlotte Moore, Controller, BBC One, says: “I want to expand the range and ambition of new drama on BBC One, and challenge ourselves to be even more original and distinctive. BBC One has a greater range of drama than any other. I’m keen to explore new perspectives and subject matter – stories that feel relevant to our audience and reflect the world around us; contemporary and sometimes provocative drama that tackles the complexities of life and that speaks to all of us.

"There’s an appetite for real life stories told through drama - you only have to look at the BAFTAs and the Oscar nominations this weekend and I’d like BBC One to tap into this. In the coming years I’d like to champion more authored single drama on the channel. The C-Word is an adaptation of Lisa Lynch’s inspiring and ballsy book about her experience of living with cancer, starring Sheridan Smith; and Danny And The Human Zoo, Lenny Henry’s fictionalised teen memoir about life as a working-class teenager in a first generation Jamaican family.

"I’m very committed to broadening the range of diversity; whether that’s with more complex roles for women or greater representation across leading roles. There is more work to be done across the industry but today I’m thrilled to announce David Gyasi as the lead in The Interceptor; Aidan Turner as the lead in Poldark and Stellan Skarsgard as the lead in River. And, the new series Doctor Foster with a complex heroine at the centre, written by Mike Bartlett; and Mapp And Lucia, a new adaptation of EF Benson’s gloriously waspish and funny novels with two gossiping women at its heart.”

Agatha Christie

BBC One is to become the new home of Agatha Christie in the UK, and today exclusively announces the first two commissions to mark the start of this special relationship. Major new BBC One adaptations of 'And Then There Were None' and 'Partners In Crime' promise to deliver audiences event television of the highest quality and bring Agatha Christie’s masterpieces to a new generation in her 125th celebration year.

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “I am delighted that the great British institution that is the BBC is going to have a long-term relationship with the works of Agatha Christie - both the BBC and Christie are as brilliantly British as it is possible to get. We are blessed to have found such like-minded partners in Mathew Prichard and Hilary Strong whose ambition for Christie's work is modern and creative. We're thrilled to welcome a brilliant new series ‘Partners In Crime’ and a classic adaptation of one of the best-selling novels of all time ‘And Then There Were None’ to BBC One and we are having lots of exciting discussions about what next.”

Charlotte Moore, Controller BBC One, adds: “I’m thrilled BBC One is to become the new home of Agatha Christie in the UK, it’s the start of a great new relationship and a real treat for BBC One audiences.”

'And Then There Were None' is Christie's most successful work and has sold over 100 million copies. Acclaimed writer Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations, The Crimson Field, The Casual Vacancy) will adapt a new telling of this extraordinary and ingenious masterpiece, produced by Mammoth Screen (Parade’s End, Poldark) in partnership with Acorn Productions Ltd. The premise is timeless, dark and gripping: 10 strangers marooned on an island. One by one they start to die.

‘Partners In Crime’ will see crime-fighting duo Tommy and Tuppence return to the screen in a 1950s set six-part adventure thriller series, starring David Walliams as Tommy. The first three episodes will be an adaptation of ‘The Secret Adversary’ written by award-winning author, playwright and director Zinnie Harris, with writer Claire Wilson adapting ‘N Or M’ which will form the rest of the series. All six episodes will be produced by Endor Productions (Restless, The Escape Artist, Esio Trot) in partnership with Acorn Productions Ltd.

Mathew Prichard, Chairman of Agatha Christie Limited and grandson of Agatha Christie, said: “It is fantastic that, in her all-important 125th anniversary year, my grandmother is to be welcomed with such enthusiasm to the BBC: a wonderful new home for her much-loved characters and their stories, and one which she would be delighted with. The commitment to these productions from all those involved is great to see, and I’ve no doubt will result in compelling new adaptations, to be enjoyed by fans old and new.”

More details are available here 

The C Word

A single drama starring Sheridan Smith as Lisa Lynch.

The C Word is an adaptation of Lisa Lynch’s inspiring and candid book about her experience of cancer, based on her popular blog which was launched shortly after her diagnosis in 2008. Adapted by Nicole Taylor, this film is a defiant, ballsy account which captures the no-nonsense and witty style of Lisa’s writing and personality. Made in-house by BBC Drama Production.

Sheridan Smith says: “Lisa first contacted me via Twitter, and we quickly became friends.  She called me "SS" and I called her "LL".  Her zest for life was infectious and I was moved and inspired by her courage and bravery.  I couldn't help but love her.  That’s why I want to tell her story.  For Pete, for her family and for everyone who's lives are touched by cancer.  I'm so sad that Lisa won't get to see the finished drama, having been so involved in the development of it.  I'm honoured and humbled that she wanted me to play her on screen, and I hope that I will make her proud.”

More details are available here

Danny And The Human Zoo

A single drama written by Lenny Henry, made by RED Production Company.

A fictionalised memoir of Lenny Henry's life as a working-class teenager in 1970s Dudley. The story centres round Danny, a talented impressionist, and his working class Jamaican family, as he rises to fame as a stand-up comedian. It is a distinctive portrait of ordinary life in a first-generation Jamaican family, a world not often seen on British television.

Lenny Henry says: “I’m so excited about bringing my fictional teen memoir to the nation. I’ve crammed the first two years of a very long career into 90 minutes – it’s gonna rock. I think, although it's not exactly what happened, that we'll get a strong sense of what it might have been like for a young black kid from Dudley to be suddenly hurled into the maelstrom of this business we call show… Can't wait!"

More details are available here

Doctor Foster

5x60-minute series written by Mike Bartlett, made by Drama Republic.

Doctor Jenny Foster is a woman in control: she is a trusted GP, the heart of her village, a woman people can trust.  But Doctor Foster’s life is about to explode. When she suspects her husband has been having an affair Doctor Foster is determined to find out the truth. She throws herself into an investigation that is going to propel her, her family and even some of her patients into chaos.  Bit by bit, Doctor Foster uncovers secrets that shock her to the core.  Now she has to choose how to react. One thing is certain – she is going to behave in ways she could never have imagined.

More details are available here

Mapp And Lucia

A 3x60-minute adaptation by Steve Pemberton of EF Benson’s gloriously waspish and funny novels.

Adapted by Steve Pemberton (Inside No 9, Psychoville, The League Of Gentlemen), set in the small English town of Tilling, the comic drama celebrates and lampoons the snobberies and pretensions of small town life. Made in-house by BBC Drama Production, it takes place over the summer of 1930 when Mrs Emmeline Lucas, known to her friends as Lucia, decides to take a holiday in the charming Queen Anne town of Tilling.

More details are available here

Casting announcements

Aidan Turner (The Hobbit, Being Human) will play Ross Poldark in Debbie Horsfield's richly reimagined literary saga Poldark.  More information available here

David Gyasi (White Heat) announced as lead in The Interceptor, Tony Saint’s new eight-part drama alongside Jo Joyner (EastEnders) and Trevor Eve (Waking The Dead). More information available here

Stellan Skarsgard (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) cast in the lead role of Abi Morgan’s new series River.

Re-commission announcements

Call The Midwife - series four, made by Neal Street Productions.

It is 1960 in London’s East End. A new decade dawns, and with it come different and exciting challenges for the team at Nonnatus House. Can the nuns and midwives hold onto their traditional values in a rapidly changing world?

Death In Paradise - series four, made by Red Planet Pictures.