‘The Long Song’ first look: Cast announced for BBC’s slavery drama set in 1830s Jamaica

The BBC has revealed the cast and first promotional images for its upcoming adaptation of The Long Song.

Based on Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel, the new three-part mini-series is written by Sarah Williams, who previously adapted Levy’s novel Small Island for the BBC in 2009.

The Long Song explores the dying days of slavery on the British-ruled Caribbean island of Jamaica in 1838.

Tamara Lawrance (Kings Charles III, Undercover) will lead the cast as the book’s protagonist, young slave July.

She’ll be joined by Hayley Atwell (Howards End, Agent Carter) as Caroline Mortimer, Jack Lowden (War & Peace, Dunkirk) as Robert Goodwin and comedian Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch) as Godfrey.

The cast also 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 official synopsis reads: “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.”

The Long Song novel is available to buy now on Amazon.

Author Andrea Levy previously commented: “This untold story from Britain’s complex past in the Caribbean will be a period drama like no other.”

The Long Song will air on BBC One in the UK later this year or in early 2019.

Directed by Mahalia Belo (Requiem), filming on the three 60-minute episodes is currently taking place in the Dominican Republic.