The Long Song

A bold three-part adaptation of Andrea Levy’s critically acclaimed bestselling novel set in the final days of slavery in Jamaica

The Long Song

A bold new look at the final days of slavery in Jamaica, seen through the eyes of a spirited survivor
Date: 14.12.2018     Last updated: 14.12.2018 at 16.16
A three-part TV adaptation of the award-winning, critically acclaimed bestselling novel by Andrea Levy.

A bold new look at the final days of slavery in Jamaica, seen through the eyes of a spirited survivor, The Long Song is a three-part adaptation of Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel, written by Sarah Williams, directed by Mahalia Belo, and starring Tamara Lawrance, Hayley Atwell, Jack Lowden and Sir Lenny Henry.

The Long Song opens just as 300 years of slavery are finally coming to an end on the British-ruled island of Jamaica. But far from being a harrowing tale of misery that one might expect from such a history, The Long Song is a story of hope, passion, determination, and humour in the face of adversity. It follows a defiant, wily young woman, July, who is born a slave, but ends up as the mother of a gentleman.

The story begins at Amity sugar plantation, where a strong-willed young slave July (Lawrance) is working as a lady’s maid for her odious mistress Caroline Mortimer (Atwell). When a charming new arrival to the island, Robert Goodwin (Lowden), becomes the new overseer at Amity, July and Caroline are both intrigued by his seemingly revolutionary determination to improve the plantation for the slaves and mistress alike. But his arrival has consequences which none of them could predict.

Set during a time of social unrest and turmoil, it’s a story about the injustices which humans inflict upon each other, and the unexpected ways in which people’s humanity sometimes overrules their prejudices. Told from July’s perspective as she looks back over her life, her tone is mischievous and indomitable, and her powerful story is one of love and survival.

Three hundred years of slavery finally came to a chaotic end on the British-ruled Caribbean island of Jamaica in 1838, yet that history of British slavery has rarely been represented on our screens. The Long Song offers a bold and unexpected perspective on this shameful and rarely-acknowledged aspect of Britain’s colonial past.

The Long Song

The Long Song (3x60) was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content.

Adapted by Sarah Williams and directed by Mahalia Belo, it has been produced by Heyday Television, a joint venture with NBC Universal International Studios, for BBC One. Executive Producers are David Heyman and Rosie Alison for Heyday Television, Ben Irving for BBC One, and Tom Coan for NBC Universal International, alongside Andrea Levy and Sarah Williams. Roopesh Parekh is Producer and the series will be distributed by NBC Universal International Distribution. Filming took place in the Dominican Republic.

The Long Song novel was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize. It was the recipient of the 2011 Walter Scott Prize.

KM