Sophie Okonedo and Adrian Lester star in the upcoming political thriller “Undercover,” which premieres on BBC One next month.
Dennis Haysbert is also part of the cast of Peter Moffat’s original 6-part series, which is described as bold and gripping, starring Okonedo as lead character Maya, who’s about to become the first black Director of Public Prosecutions, and Adrian Lester as her husband, Nick. Just as her life comes under intense public scrutiny, Maya discovers that her husband and the father of her children, has been lying to her for years. Is he concealing an affair, or is it something altogether more sinister? If she digs up his real past, will she be safe? And who wants her in this new job and why? Twenty years ago, Nick was a fearless and dedicated undercover officer, infiltrating organisations considered a danger to society because of their political beliefs. Nick built himself a fake past and now with his wife unsuspecting, and his conscience killing him – his secret identity may compromise the new Director of Public Prosecutions – Maya, his wife.
Haysbert plays a man who has been wrongly imprisoned and has been on death row for 20 years.
Peter Moffat says: “Ever since making ‘Criminal Justice’ with Hilary Salmon, we’ve been itching to get back to looking at the parts of the justice system, the media and public life that time and again, over the last five years, have been shown to be occupied by the good, the bad and the very ugly. I’ve been lucky enough with the research sources I’ve had access to, to dig really deep into the darker corners of all these worlds, and come up with what I hope is an uncompromising and surprising thriller. I feel incredibly lucky to be writing for such a wonderful cast, with two lead actors in Sophie Okonedo and Adrian Lester who are right at the top of their games. It has been a particular privilege to have had the chance to involve and engage Sophie in the research and development process at every point.”
James Hawes is directing the mini-series, which is being produced by BBC Drama Production England, for BBC One.
Undercover also stars Tamara Lawrance, Daniel Ezra, Shannon Hayes, Vincent Regan, Angel Coulby, Derek Ridell, Mark Bonnar, Leanne Best, Jude Akuwudike, Thomas Dominique, Glyn Grimstead, Phil Deguara, Sam Stockman, Thomas Aldridge, Kerry Shale, Neil D’Souza, Todd Kramer, Robert Whitelock, Terence Beesley, Fraser Ayres, Clarence Smith, Brett Allen, Nathan Nolan and Enzo Squillino Jr.
One can only assume that all of this new “black programming” (see announcements made earlier this week on this blog) is part of the BBC’s previously announced diversity push in light of growing and fervent criticism from BAME groups (Black, Asian and Ethnic Minorities).
Last year, making a public statement regarding an increase in diversity, BBC Films boss Christine Langan took on the challenge, saying that the lack of diversity within the UK film & TV industry is “increasingly on BBC’s agenda.”
“I can ensure you we are very mindful of it [diversity] and increasingly it is on our agenda,” she said. “We need to reflect modern Britain and I am engaged in that process. The film community needs to create opportunities to pull people through. Commissioning has taken account of it and will continue to do so.”
“Undercover” is set to premiere on BBC1 in April. For those in the USA, it’ll also be carried by BBC America in 2016 (an exact date will be announced later), which is obviously welcomed news for us!
The network has released a first clip from the series which is embedded below.