Peacock, NBC Universal's streaming service, has been on a BBC buying spree lately. First, they announced Jimmy McGovern's TV movie ANTHONY, now they've released the trailer for the BBC's adaptation of Malorie Blackman's classic Young Adult Science Fiction book series Noughts + Crosses. The series will premiere on September 4th.
The book series is considered a classic in the UK ever since it debuted in 2000. It imagines an alternate 21st Century where the African continent conquered and colonized the West hundreds of years ago and an Afrocentric regime rules over Albion, an alternate England, with the white population relegated to oppressed slaves and second-hand citizens. It was written to enable young readers to examine and consider institutional racism and its dehumanizing aspects. The story is a Romeo and Juliet story where a black girl from the ruling elite falls in love with a white boy. There are six novels in the series. Like ANTHONY, Noughts + Crosses is especially relevant in the year of Black Lives Matter.
You might also remember that Blackman, a prolific author, playwright, and screenwriter, also wrote the Hugo-nominated episode "Rosa" for the 11th season of Doctor Who, which highlighted the story of Rosa Parks. Here's a look at Peacock's official synopsis :
"NOUGHTS + CROSSES imagines an alternate universe in which history happened in racial reverse. In this world, Africa – or "Aprica" – invaded Europe centuries ago, enslaving its people. In present-day London, "Albion," slavery is an institution of the past, but Jim Crow-esque segregation laws maintain the power dynamic: a ruling class of Black "Crosses" control the country's politics, wealth and culture over an oppressed, impoverished underclass of white "Noughts" who are at the brink of revolt. Against this backdrop, a forbidden love story unfolds."
Noughts + Crosses stars Jack Rowan as Callum McGregor, a Nought, and Masali Baduza as Sephy Hadley, a Cross and the daughter of a prominent politician. "Destiny crosses their divergent paths, and they're swept away in a romance that seems doomed from the start," according to Peacock. Other cast includes Jonathan Ajayi, Helen Baxendale, Paterson Joseph, Josh Dylan, Shaun Dingwall, Jonathan Ajayi, Kike Brimah, Rakie Ayola, Bonnie Mbuli and Ian Hart.
The series is produced by Mammoth Screen, Participant and Roc Nation and is distributed internationally by ITV Studios. Lydia Adetunji writes alongside Nathaniel Price and Rachel Le-Lahay. Julian Holmes and Koby Adom direct the series and Johann Knobel produces. Jeff Skoll and Miura Kite executive produce for Participant, while Kibwe Tavares, Preethi Mavahalli, and Damien Timmer executive produce for Mammoth Screen."