The book is set in an alternate world where whites and blacks are segregated, and follows Sephy, a member of the ruling black class, the ‘Crosses’, and her childhood friend Callum, a ‘Nought’ and member of the white underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses.
“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,” the BBC’s synopsis reads.
The adaptation was first announced in 2016, but delays have meant that there’s been a shake-up in the writing team.
Being Human creator and Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse is taking over the reins from the project’s original screenwriters, Youngers writer Levi David Addai and Life on Mars co-creator Matthew Graham.
Whithouse will oversee the script-writing process with the help of Riviera’s Lydia Adetunji and Five By Five’s Nathaniel Price.
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 said: “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!”
You can see a glimpse of Noughts and Crosses in this BBC trailer…
Who has been cast in Noughts and Crosses?
Jack Rowan (Getty)
Peaky Blinders actor Jack Rowan will star as Callum, while newcomer Masali Baduza plays Sephy. You can also expect to see Paterson Joseph (Johnson from Peep Show) playing Sephy’s father and Home Secretary Kamal Hadley.
Oh, and big news for fans of Stormzy: the rapper will make a cameo as newspaper editor Kolawale – a role newly created for the series. “As a diehard fan of Malorie’s novels, being a part of this important show is a dream come true,” Stormzy said.
Elsewhere, Helen Baxendale (Emily from Friends and Rachel from Cold Feet) and Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell from Harry Potter) will play Callum’s parents Meggie and Ryan, while Josh Dylan (Young Bill from Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) will play his older brother Jude.
Shaun Dingwall (Pete Tyler from Doctor Who) also plays Liberation Militia leader Dorn and Bonnie Mbuli (Wallander) plays Sephy’s mother Jasmine.