Tamara Lawrance, Hayley Atwell & Sir Lenny Henry To Star In BBC ‘The Long Song’ Adaptation
The BBC has lined up a solid cast for its upcoming three-part adaptation of Andrea Levy’s award-winning, best-selling novel ‘The Long Song’ it has been announced. Tamara Lawrance (‘Kings Charles III’, ‘Undercover’) will lead the cast as protagonist July, alongside Hayley Atwell (‘Peggy Carter’, ‘Howards End’), Jack Lowden (‘War & Peace’, ‘Dunkirk’) and Sir Lenny Henry (‘Broadchurch’). The series will be directed by Mahalia Belo (‘Requiem’).
Set during the final days of slavery in 19th century Jamaica, the story follows the strong-willed, young slave July (Lawrance) on a plantation owned by her odious mistress Caroline Mortimer (Atwell). When a charming new arrival to the island, Robert Goodwin (Lowden), becomes the new overseer, July and Caroline are both intrigued by his seemingly revolutionary determination to improve the plantation for the slaves and mistress alike.
During a time of social unrest and turmoil, this powerful story is told from July’s perspective as she looks back over her life; the tone is funny, defiant and indomitable. It’s a story about the injustices that humans inflict upon each other and the unexpected ways in which people’s humanity sometimes overrules their prejudices.
“Every day at work is enlightening,” commented Lawrance. “A real blessing to be amongst this cast and crew, playing a character as subversive as July. She relishes mutiny with wit and courage; finding ways to win in spite of her circumstances. She also rings true to Jamaica’s national heroes – Nanny, Paul Bogle and Sam Sharpe – who, by standing up for their own humanity, shifted world history. I believe stories like these illuminate the legacy of slavery in relation to where we are today. It’s all still relevant!”
“I am delighted to be part of this beautiful story written with warmth, sensitivity, humour and intelligence by Andrea Levy,” adds Atwell. “Playing the deeply flawed Caroline Mortimer is a thrilling challenge and entirely new territory for me as an actor. Audiences will fall in love with the story’s remarkable heroine, July, who endures on-going abuses of power with dignity and poise, surviving injustices that were devastatingly prevalent during this time and place in history. It is a story that demands to be told.”
Additional cast includes Doña Croll (‘EastEnders’) as Old July, Sharon Duncan-Brewster (‘The Boy With The Topknot’) as Kitty, Ayesha Antoine (‘Chewing Gum’) as Molly, Arinzé Kene (‘King Lear’) as Thomas, Ansu Kabia (‘Murder On The Orient Express’) as James Richards, Jordan Bolger (‘Peaky Blinders’) as Nimrod, Joy Richardson (‘Children Of Men’) as Miss Rose, Madeleine Mantock (‘Charmed’) as Miss Clara and Leo Bill (‘Taboo’) as John Howarth.
‘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.
The BBC hasn’t released an air date for ‘The Long Song’ mini-series yet, but we’ll let you know when we have more information.