Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey, Anatomy of a Scandal), Nicholas Pinnock (Life, Marcella) and David Dawson (My Policeman, The Last Kingdom) will be among the cast of This Town, the major new drama from Peaky Blinders and SAS Rogue Heroes creator Steven Knight, it was announced today.
The epic six-part series is produced by Kudos (a Banijay UK company) and Nebulastar for the BBC, co-produced with Mercury Studios, in association with Kudos North, Stigma Films and Nick Angel. Filming is now underway on location in the Birmingham area, and at Steven Knight’s new Digbeth Loc. Film and TV Studios.
This Town tells the story of an extended family and four young people who are drawn into the world of ska and two-tone music, which exploded from the grass roots of Coventry and Birmingham in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, uniting black, white and Asian youths
Led by an exciting cast of rising talent, the six-part series will star Levi Brown (Loss and Return), Jordan Bolger (The Woman King, The Book of Boba Fett), Ben Rose (Line of Duty, The Innocents) and Eve Austin (You, Our Ladies) as its four young leads. Geraldine James (Back To Life, Anne with an E), Peter McDonald (The Batman, Dublin Murders), Freya Parks (The School of Good and Evil, Here We Go), John Heffernan (Dracula, The Pursuit of Love), Brendan Gibson (Peaky Blinders, Mr Selfridge), Séainín Brennan (The Fall, Hidden), George Somner (This Is Going To Hurt, Sex Education) and Shyvonne Ahmmad (Annika, Karen Pirie) will also feature in the series.
Both a high octane thriller and a family saga, This Town opens in 1981 at a moment of huge social tensions and unrest. Against this backdrop, it tells the story of a group of young people fighting to choose their own paths in life, and each in need of the second chance that music offers.
The series will be co-produced with Mercury Studios (part of the Universal Music Group) who will bring in an exciting range of high profile musical artists to help lay the backdrop for Knight’s incredible story. Acclaimed producer Dan Carey, and Brit and Mercury nominated musician, novelist and poet Kae Tempest, have written the songs performed by the band in the series.
Steven Knight, writer, creator and executive producer, says: “This is a project very close to my heart. It’s about an era I lived through and know well and it involves characters who I feel I grew up with. It’s a love letter to Birmingham and Coventry but I hope people from all over the world will relate to it.”
Karen Wilson, exec producer and MD of Kudos, says: “We cannot wait for this incredible cast to help bring the world that Steven has created in This Town to life. The combination of powerful storytelling, gripping drama and brilliant music will make it a must-watch – audiences are in for a real treat!”
Jo McClellan, BBC Drama Commissioning Editor, says: “Steven’s scripts are absolutely brilliant – they capture the wild energy of youth and a pivotal moment in time, all set to a fantastic soundtrack, and we can’t wait to see this incredibly talented cast bring it all to life”
Alice Webb, Mercury Studios CEO and Co-President, says: “Ska music has such a huge impact on music and culture – in the 80’s and through to modern day – which is why the legendary Steven Knight, Kudos, BBC and Mercury Studios is the perfect combination to bring this vivid world to life. Expect fierce new music as well as serious homage to classics of the time. It’s going to be unstoppable.”
Marc Robinson, Co-President of Mercury Studios says: “It is a privilege to be working intrinsically with Steven Knight and Kudos team in bringing the musical narrative of This Town to life. Music is at the heart of the series, and we are thrilled to be able to creatively engage artists and help tell the story through new and original recordings.”
This Town is created, written and executive produced by Steven Knight. It is directed by Paul Whittington and produced by Charlotte Surtees. Executive Producers are Karen Wilson, Martin Haines and Katie McAleese for Kudos, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. Laura Conway (Kudos North), Matthew James Wilkinson (Stigma Films) and Nick Angel serve as Co-Executive Producers. Banijay Rights will handle international distribution for the series.