BBC1 to dramatise Malorie Blackman’s young adult novel Noughts and Crosses

The Beeb also announces a new Scottish thriller called Trust Me and a documentary about the impact of stalking

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Malorie Blackman’s story of interracial first love in a dangerous fictional dystopia is to become a BBC1 drama series.

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Levi David Addai and Matthew Graham are writing the drama which is being made by Poldark producers Mammoth Screen and is expected to air next year.

The heroes of the story are Sephy and Callum who fall in love amid strict race laws making daily existence a matter of life and death. 

Sephy is a ‘Cross’, a member of the black ruling class and daughter of a prominent politician. Callum is a ‘Nought’, white member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood.

“Against a background of prejudice, distrust and powerful rebellion mounting on the streets, a passionate romance builds between Sephy and Callum which will lead them both into terrible danger,” according to the BBC. 

The adaptation is based on the first book in the award-winning Noughts and Crosses series for young adults. Blackman was the Children’s Laureate from 2013 to 2015.

Charlotte Moore, Director, BBC Content said: “Noughts and Crosses is the definitive book for a young adult audience and the perfect fit for BBC1. Superb, high octane compulsive storytelling set within an alternative history that explores really relevant themes about race, privilege and how we treat each other.”

Malorie Blackman added: “I am beyond thrilled that Noughts and Crosses will be dramatised by the BBC – it couldn’t have found a better home. Callum and Sephy seem to have meant a lot to readers over the years and I’m excited at the prospect of watching them on my TV.”

BBC1 has also commissioned Trust Me, a four-part drama series set in Edinburgh tells the story of Cathy, a hardworking and skilled nurse.

Having lost her job for whistleblowing, she is forced to take drastic measures to provide for her daughter. So she steals her best friend’s identity as a senior doctor and start a new life in Edinburgh in the drama written by Dan Sefton (Mr Selfridge, The Five, Secret Diary of a Call Girl). Like Noughts and Crosses, the drama is yet to be cast.

The channel has also also gained exclusive access to Paladin, the National Stalking Advocacy Service, who assist high-risk victims of stalking for a single documentary called Stalkers.

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Following live unfolding cases, from the abusive phone call to attacks on the family home, the documentary will give an insight into the victim’s perspective and will also explore why only 1% of stalking cases result in a criminal conviction.