‘Small Island’ writer adapting Jamaica slavery drama ‘The Long Song’ for BBC

The BBC has announced a new mini-series based on Andrea Levy’s epic and award-winning novel The Long Song.

The three-part series will be adapted by Sarah Williams (Small Island) and produced by Heyday Television (Harry Potter, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas).

Shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and winner of the 2011 Walter Scott Prize, The Long Song explores the dying days of slavery in Jamaica.

Author Andrea Levy commented: “I am particularly happy to have my novel, The Long Song, adapted by Heyday and the BBC. This untold story from Britain’s complex past in the Caribbean will be a period drama like no other.”

Screenwriter Sarah Williams added: “I’m thrilled to be adapting Andrea’s powerful novel. It’s a cracking good story told from a female point of view and also serves as a tribute to the wit, ingenuity and resilience of generations of British slaves in Jamaica.”

Starring Naomie Harris, Ruth Wilson, David Oyelowo and Benedict Cumberbatch, Williams’ adaptation of Levy’s novel Small Island aired in 2009.

The official synopsis for The Long Song reads: “Three hundred years of slavery finally came to a chaotic end on the British-ruled Caribbean island 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 hope, passion and determination, full of insight and humour.”

The Long Song will air on BBC One in the UK in 2018 or 2019.