DQ100 – Part two
In the second part of the DQ100 2022/23, DQ picks out a range of shows to tune in for and the actors, directors and writers making them, as well as some of the trends and trailblazers worth catching up with.
Following roles in Ghosts, It’s Kevin and Cardinal Burns, Christie has landed her own series on UK broadcaster Channel 4. The comedian, actor and writer will write and star in The Change, a show pitched as “Shirley Valentine meets Deliverance. With pigs.” She plays Linda, a 50-year-old working-class married mother-of-two who is having an existential crisis – but later discovers it’s the menopause. Dusting off her old Triumph motorbike, she sets off alone to the Forest of Dean in search of an identity and purpose, meeting an array of eccentric locals along the way.
Cox, a Native American actor, became an instant global star when she joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2021 as the unforgiving Maya Lopez, a character who first appeared in Disney+ show Hawkeye. In that series, Maya was revealed to be a deaf gang leader who was determined to seek revenge against the person she believed killed her father. Cox, who is deaf in real life, is now taking centre stage in Echo, a Marvel Studios series coming to Disney+ in 2023. This origin story revisits Maya, whose ruthless behaviour in New York City catches up with her in her home town, where she must face the past and reconnect with her Native American roots and community if she has any hope of moving forward.
Irish actor Keenan earned a Bafta nomination for her role in Little Boy Blue, a true crime drama about the murder of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Liverpool in 2007, in which she played Rhys’s mother Melanie. Keenan has since had roles in shows such as Deep Water, Three Families and Showtrial, in which she portrayed a police officer investigating a murder case that captures the attention of the world’s media. In her next role, Keenan will play another police officer, only this time she is joining one of the most popular crime dramas on British television, ITV’s Unforgotten. She joins the fifth season of the show as DCI Jessica James, a new partner for the returning DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar). The role sees Keenan follow in the footsteps of Nicola Walker (DI Cassie Summers), who left the series after season four.
British actor Roach will be seen on screen this year in Sky Original drama The Midwich Cuckoos, playing a new resident of the titular town that is plunged into panic after a mysterious 12-hour blackout. Those affected seemingly return to normal life, until it emerges that every woman of child-bearing age inside the blackout zone has inexplicably fallen pregnant. Roach has also been tapped to star in Wolf, a forthcoming BBC drama from the makers of Sherlock and Dracula. He will play DI Jack Caffery, a police officer trying to right the wrongs of others while obsessed with the neighbour he believes murdered his 10-year-old brother in the 1990s. The actors other credit’s include Annika, Blindspot and Humans.
A small-screen veteran after racking up a host of credits in the past decade – and still only 30 – Younes will take the lead in Paramount+ original series Last King of the Cross. The Grand Hotel and Tangle star will play John Ibrahim, one of Australia’s most infamous nightclub moguls, in a series inspired by Ibrahim’s autobiography of the same name. The story tracks Ibrahim’s rise from poverty-stricken immigrant with no money, no education and no prospects to ruler of the nightlife in Sydney’s Kings Cross.
British director Bathurst most recently worked as lead director on western series Billy the Kid and computer game adaptation Halo, while his other notable credits include His Dark Materials, Peaky Blinders, the first episode of dystopian anthology Black Mirror and Criminal Justice. He is now attached to lead The Winter King, a 10-part historical drama based on Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles. Produced by Bad Wolf (His Dark Materials, A Discovery of Witches), the series offers a revisionist take on the Arthurian legend, following Arthur Pendragon as he evolves from outcast son to legendary warrior and leader in the fifth century – a time before Britain was united and was instead a land of warring factions and tribes.
One of Australia’s biggest rising talents, Chen has worked on projects in both comedy and drama, directing Homecoming Queens, Mustangs FC, Five Bedrooms and Sisters. She has recently directed episodes of SeaChange and Wentworth and was the sole director on New Gold Mountain, a historical drama telling the untold story of the Chinese-Australian experience during the Australian Gold Rush. Her latest project is Bad Behaviour, a four-part series for streamer Stan. It focuses on a star student who arrives for a year of character building at the wilderness campus of an exclusive girls’ boarding school, only to find herself in a dormitory surrounded by the most volatile and the most vulnerable. The series promises to delve into the darker side of the school experience and how its effects can carry over into adulthood..
From The End of the F***ing World to In My Skin, for which she won a Welsh Bafta award, Forbes has helmed some of the best British TV of recent years. Her most recent job was working as lead director on This is Going to Hurt, the BBC and AMC adaptation of Adam Kay’s memoir about life as a junior doctor working in the National Health Service (NHS). Ben Whishaw stars as Adam, who is juggling his personal life with a hectic job on the labour ward and meets Shruti (Ambika Mod), who is similarly struggling with the demands of the job.
Nikolaj Lie Kaas
As an actor, Lie Kaas will be familiar to fans of Danish drama for his roles in Bedrag (Follow the Money) and Forhøret, as well as British historical drama Britannia. He is now working behind the camera on Agent, a comedy-drama series pitched as a self-aware story about an agent working in the Danish film and entertainment business. Lie Kass also writes the TV2 series, which stars Esben Smed as Joe, who must balance chasing his dreams, managing his clients and looking after his 10-year-old daughter, while things have a habit of not going to plan. Actors including Sidse Babett Knudsen, Dar Salim, Ulrich Thomsen and Lars Ranthe also star as heightened versions of themselves.
Fresh from this year’s Oscars, where he won best live-action short film for The Long Goodbye – a collaboration with The Night Of star Riz Ahmed – Karia is now set to helm The Gold. A BBC and Paramount+ coproduction, the six-part series will dramatise the true events surrounding the robbery of the Brink’s-Mat security depot near London’s Heathrow Airport, when six men stumbled across gold bullion worth £26m (US$32.3m) in 1983. Karia directs alongside Lawrence Gough, while the cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Dominic Cooper, Charlotte Spencer, Tom Cullen, Emun Elliott, Sean Harris, Ellora Torchia and Stefanie Martini. Karia’s previous work includes Lovesick, Pure and Top Boy.
Carraway writes and executive produces Rain Dogs, a BBC and HBO drama from Killing Eve maker Sid Gentle Films. The story is described as a wild and punky tale of a mother’s love for her daughter, of deep-rooted and passionate friendships and of brilliance thwarted by poverty and prejudice. Daisy-May Cooper (This Country) stars as a young working-class single mother living with her 10-year-old daughter and doing everything she can to keep her head above the poverty line. The series follows Carraway’s success with her non-fiction memoir Skint Estate, a “scream against austerity” that rages against sink estates, police cells, refuges and peepshows.
Clouston has been building her writing career on the back of shows such as My Life is Murder, Playing for Keeps, Amazing Grace and Darby & Joan, while she also directed comedy 600 Bottles of Wine. Now the Australian is writing the scripts for Paper Dolls, a scripted drama set in 2000 that follows the meteoric rise and fall of fictional girl band Indigo, a manufactured pop group born out of one of the first reality TV shows. Facing instant success and stardom, the girls’ connection with each other evolves from competition to confidants until secrets threaten to tear the band apart. Commissioned by Network 10 and Paramount+, the series is due out in 2023.
Norwegian screenwriter Karlsen’s credits include Dag, One Night and Exit, the series that took Norway by storm with its depiction of extravagant lives of male bankers who spend their earnings on wild parties, drugs and prostitutes. Øystein also created BritBox drama Whitstable Pearl, which is produced by Buccaneer Media, and is now working with the same firm on So Long, Marianne. The eight-parter is based on the extraordinary lives of Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen – two lonely people who fall in love in a period of their lives when they are trying to figure out who they are and where their place in the world is, set against the backdrops of Oslo, London, New York, Montreal and the Greek island of Hydra.
The bestselling author, known as ‘The Dutch Queen of Suspense,’ is writing her first television series. Something Stupid, which is among the first Dutch originals for streaming platform Viaplay, is a dark comedy that follows three women seeking revenge on the man who betrayed them. It explores themes of equality and exploitation in the TV industry.
Australian writer Perske is best known in the UK and down under for her work on The Cry, a fractured, emotionally charged adaptation of Helen Fitzgerald’s novel about a young couple struggling with parenthood when unthinkable tragedy strikes. With credits on other shows such as Fires, Love My Way and Deadline Gallipoli, she is now working with The Cry producer Synchronicity Films once again on The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Based on Heather Morris’s novel of the same name, this Sky Original drama tells the true story of Lale Sokolov, a Jewish prisoner given the job of tattooing identification numbers on fellow prisoners’ arms in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during the Second World War.
Festning Norge (The Fortress)
This dystopian drama (AKA The Fortress), commissioned by Scandi streamer Viaplay, follows the fateful consequences of Norway’s decision to isolate itself and its citizens from the rest of the world. In 2037, the country is surrounded by an enormous wall, inside which its people enjoy a privileged, sheltered and self-sufficient existence. But when a deadly pandemic breaks out, its inhabitants soon find the barriers built to protect them instead hold them prisoner. Tobias Santelmann, Selome Emnetu and Russell Tovey (right) lead the international cast..
An eight-part mystery thriller filmed in Germany and Poland, Oderbruch follows the sinister discovery of numerous murder victims in the titular German region sitting on the Polish border. The case brings Detective Roland Voit (Felix Kramer) to his home town to work with Polish police officer Stanislaw Zajak (Lucas Gregorowicz), while his former colleague and childhood sweetheart Maggie Kring (Karoline Schuch) is called to join the investigation when her family comes under suspicion. The investigation forces Voit and Kring to delve into their past to finally uncover the truth about the death of Maggie’s brother and the sinister truth of the case.
This supernatural coming-of-age drama is StarzPlay’s second French-language coproduction, the US streamer partnering with France Télévisions on a series from the producers behind the Deutschland 83 franchise and Baron Noir. Starring Ophelia Kolb, Katharina Schüttler (pictured), Stefan Konarske and Bruno Solo, it focuses on the events of a French-German school exchange in rural France during the 1982 World Cup, told from the perspective of characters from three generations – one who fought in the Second World War, one who rebuilt Europe during the Cold War and one enjoying prosperity in the 1980s.
Sofia Helin reunites with Bron (The Bridge) writer Camilla Ahlgren for this emotional crime drama commissioned by Nordic streamer C More, Sweden’s TV4 and Germany’s ZDF. Helin stars as Iris Broman, who has left Stockholm following a tragedy to become the new head of the Kalla Fall, a group that solves cold cases in Malmö. Living with her half-sister Kattis (Hedda Stiernstedt) in Ystad, Iris picks up a cold case that connects the lives of several people – but what was the truth then, what is the truth now and what are the consequences?
Turning the modern love story on its head, this Channel 4 series promises to break the rules for older characters on screen with a story featuring a core cast of actors in their 60s and 70s. Phil, played by Julie Walters (pictured), is an ex-senior police chief experiencing a boring retirement, while Clarke Peters plays Ken, a divorcee and ex-special forces vet who feels similarly at sea. They were teenage sweethearts and despite life having moved on, they have never quite managed to forget each other. When they reunite years later at a funeral, talk turns to the ‘ideal’ death, and they agree to help each other die when the time is right.
TRENDS & TRAILBLAZERS
Webcomic, graphic novel, hit Netflix television series… Heartstopper has become a cultural phenomenon since its launch on the streamer in April. Adapted by Alice Oseman from her own LGBTQ+ romance comic, it is a wonderfully sweet and uplifting coming-of-age story about teenagers Charlie and Nick, who discover their friendship may be something more as they navigate school and the complexities of young love. Winning rave reviews from critics and fans of the original source material alike, the series blends perfect performances from its young cast with fleeting touches of Oseman’s own illustrations that only serve to heighten, rather than direct, the emotions on screen.
Actor, writer and singer-songwriter Lecky is the creative force behind BBC drama Mood, an unflinching, funny and affecting six-part series featuring an original soundtrack performed by Lecky herself. Based on her own play, called Superhoe, the series stars Lecky as Sasha, a 25-year-old wannabe singer and rapper who – homeless and forced to fend for herself – finds her way into the dark and intoxicating world of social media influencing. With two songs per episode, music plays an important part in the show as a means to convey Sasha’s thoughts and emotions without needing to say them to another character, while the story also touches on topical themes such as the rise of homelessness, sex work and social media addiction..
The winner of the Emerging Talent – Fiction award at this year’s Bafta Craft Awards, Salmon has burst onto screens in the past year thanks to his BBC Comedy Slice entry Dreaming Whilst Black, which he starred in and co-wrote. Based on his own YouTube series of the same name, it follows an aspiring filmmaker who is trapped in a dead-end job and must decide whether to follow or give up his dreams. Actor, writer, director and producer Salmon has also starred in Channel 4’s Chivalry, and joined Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill, John Bishop and Aisling Bea in the TARDIS for Doctor Who episode Eve of the Daleks.
If there’s a television anniversary, there’s going to be a reunion. Take Silent Witness (pictured), the long-running BBC drama that first introduced pathologist Sam Ryan, played by Amanda Burton, in 1996. Now, as the series celebrates its 25th season, Burton has rejoined Silent Witness for the first time since 2004, teaming up with the current cast that includes long-running star Emilia Fox, who plays forensic pathologist Nikki Alexander. Another BBC series, Doctor Who, is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, and returning showrunner Russell T Davies has stoked the rumour mill by confirming former stars David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be coming back to the show. Meanwhile, Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan are also rejoining Australian series Neighbours after 30 years away from Ramsay Street. Sadly, however, their appearance alongside other familiar faces will form part of the show’s finale as it comes to an end after 37 years.
Huge strides are being taken to increase and improve representation of disabled creatives in front of and behind the camera in the British TV industry, and Triple C is at the forefront of this movement. Led by a team including Cherylee Houston and Melissa Johns, the groundbreaking organisation has been fighting for change for more than five years in a bid to improve access to and opportunities for deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people. Membership has rocketed over the past two years since Triple C moved online to deliver masterclasses, workshops and networking events through its own Disabled Artists Networking Community (DANC), as it strives to ensure nobody is left behind. With support from award-winning creatives including writer Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials), doors are finally opening. As Houston says, in a perfect world, Triple C wouldn’t exist, but thanks to its work, real change is happening.
tagged in: Adjani Salmon, Ainslie Clouston, Alaqua Cox, Aneil Karia, Bridget Christie, Cash Carraway, Corrie Chen, Fallen, Festning Norge, Heartstopper, Jacqueline Perske, Lincoln Younes, Lucy Forbes, Nicôle Lecky, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Oderbruch, Otto Bathurst, Ouija, Sanningen, Sinéad Keenan, The Fortress, Triple C, Truelove, Ukweli Roach, Øystein Karlsen