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BBC preps originals from first-time writers

Martin Freeman

The BBC has bolstered its drama output by developing and commissioning four original titles from first-time writers.

Chloe (6×60’), The Responder (6×60’), Superhoe (6×45’) and feature-length My Name is Leon (1×90’) have been unveiled by the UK pubcaster’s controller of drama, Piers Wenger.

Chloe tells the story of a young woman who adopts a secret alter ego to investigate the sudden death of her estranged best friend.

The series was created by Alice Seabright, who will also write and direct. It will be produced by UK-based Mam Tor Productions, with Tally Garner and Ben Irving exec producing, and is set to premiere on BBC1.

Crime drama The Responder was inspired by the real-life experiences of a former police officer and his night shifts as an urgent responder in Liverpool. It will star Martin Freeman (Sherlock, Fargo) as a crisis-stricken, morally compromised officer dealing with a struggling marriage and a new rookie partner.

The Responder was written by ex-police officer Tony Schumacher and will be produced by UK indie Dancing Ledge Productions for BBC2. Laurence Bowen, Chris Carey and Mona Qureshi are exec producers and Fremantle will handle distribution.

Six-parter Superhoe follows of a 24-year-old woman who dreams of being a rapper, only to be kicked out of her family home and forced to move in with an enigmatic party girl. She turns to a life of social media influencing and partying, which leads to sex work as a means to get by.

Superhoe is set to be produced by drama indie Bonafide Films and has been added to BBC3’s slate. The series is written by and stars Nicôle Lecky, who also serves as exec producer alongside Margery Bone, Lucy Richer and Ayela Butt.

Finally, stand-alone film My Name is Leon has been picked up by BBC1. Set against the backdrop of 1980s race riots, it follows a nine-year-old a mixed-race boy desperate to keep his family together after his single-parent mother suffers a devastating breakdown.

My Name is Leon has been adapted from Kit de Waal’s novel of the same name by Shola Amoo and is set to be directed by Noughts + Crosses director Kibwe Tavares. The film will be made by Endemol-owned Douglas Road Productions, with Lenny Henry, Angela Ferreira, Gub Neal, Edward Barlow and Mona Qureshi exec producing and Carol Harding serving as producer.

Wenger said: “Finding new talent, developing then making their ideas sits right at the centre of what we do. We have all seen the incredible career trajectory that British talent can have internationally after just one or two writing gigs. It is sad but also inspiring when this happens – not because we ever want to lose talent to a bigger pay cheque, but it is important to us to be able to show the part we played in bringing these brilliant minds into public view.”

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