The cast of the The Long Song have revealed what viewers should expect from the BBC’s upcoming adaptation.
Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel is being adapted as a new three-part mini-series by Sarah Williams, who previously brought Levy’s novel Small Island to the screen in 2009.
Exploring the dying days of slavery on the British-ruled Caribbean island of Jamaica in 1838, The Long Song stars Tamara Lawrance (Kings Charles III, Undercover) as young slave July and Hayley Atwell (Howards End, Agent Carter) as her odious mistress Caroline Mortimer.
The BBC says: “Three hundred years of slavery finally came to a chaotic end on the British-ruled Caribbean island of Jamaica in 1838. It is a shameful and rarely-acknowledged part of British colonial history. And though Abolition may have been the first step on the road to racial equality, it is a very long road and one upon which we still travel today.
“But far from being a harrowing tale of violence and misery that one might expect from such a history, The Long Song is in fact a story of love, hope, passion, survival and determination, full of insight and humour.”
Tamara Lawrance commented: “Every day at work is enlightening. 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!”
Hayley Atwell added: “I am delighted to be part of this beautiful story written with warmth, sensitivity, humour and intelligence by Andrea Levy.
“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.”
Andrea Levy’s original novel is available to buy now on Amazon.
The Long Song is currently filming in the Dominican Republic and will air on BBC One in the UK later this year or in early 2019.
The cast also includes Jack Lowden (War & Peace, Dunkirk), Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch), Doña Croll (EastEnders), Sharon Duncan-Brewster (The Boy With The Topknot), Ayesha Antoine (Chewing Gum), Arinzé Kene (King Lear), Ansu Kabia (Murder On The Orient Express), Jordan Bolger (Peaky Blinders), Joy Richardson (Children Of Men), Madeleine Mantock (Charmed) and Leo Bill (Taboo).