Is ‘The Long Song’ worth watching? Here’s what the reviews say

The BBC’s adaptation of The Long Song has been airing in the UK this week.

Andrea Levy’s award-winning novel has been brought to life as a new three-part mini-series by Sarah Williams, who previously adapted Levy’s novel Small Island for the BBC 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) as young slave July and Hayley Atwell (Howards End) as her odious mistress Caroline Mortimer.

Watch the trailer:

The cast also includes Jack Lowden (War & Peace), Sir Lenny Henry (Broadchurch) and Sharon Duncan-Brewster (The Boy With The Topknot).

We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews for the mini-series to help you decide if you’d like to watch it:


“A beautiful, moving, horrifying adaptation of her unsimple tale, that honours the source and its subject.” ★★★★ – The Guardian


“It’s a strong start to The Long Song and as a period drama that enjoys playing with convention and defying expectations…” – Den of Geek


“…what can a period slavery drama tells us that we don’t already know? Quite a bit, as The Long Song is showing.” ★★★★ – The Times


The Long Song is incredibly moving… Every so often, when the question of apologies for slavery comes up, it is sometimes argued that we cannot make moral judgments on the past. The Long Song upholds that such moral outrage is not only possible, but imperative. ” ★★★★ – The Independent


“Tamara Lawrence in particular is spectacular as she manages to balance what it means to live in this world and aspire for something more, and she carries this story on her shoulders with grace.” ★★★★ – Metro


“A pertinent, unexpectedly comic tale of slavery’s end.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph


“You wouldn’t normally associate the word “funny” with a TV show about slavery … But BBC1’s new drama The Long Song is so finely-tuned and carefully-balanced that it’ll break your heart – and make you laugh at the same time.” – Radio Times


The Long Song is expected to air in the USA in 2019.

Andrea Levy’s original novel is available on Amazon.