The Radio Times logo

When is Back to Life on BBC1 and BBC3? Who's in the cast and what's it about?

Everything you need to know about Daisy Haggard's ex-convict comedy

Published: Monday, 20th May 2019 at 10:00 pm

Back to Life is a brand new BBC3 comedy about a woman who is navigating life outside of prison after serving a long sentence for a heinous crime.


From the producers of The Missing, Baptiste and Liar, Back to Life is written by Daisy Haggard who also plays Miri, the ex-convict at the centre of the story.

Here’s everything you need to know…

What time is Back to Life on TV?

All six episodes of Back to Life were made available as a boxset on BBC3 on Monday 15th April and will air weekly in the slot previously occupied by Fleabag on BBC1 from Monday 15th April at 10.35pm

What is Back to Life about?

Back to Life is a mysterious, dark comedy drama about Miri, a woman returning to live in the small town she grew up in after serving an 18-year prison sentence for a terrible crime.

The series follows Miri’s first few weeks out of prison when she is trying – and often failing – to lead a normal life. She attempts to rekindle old relationships, make new ones, forge a career and generally readjust to “life outside”, while hoping the world will finally forget what happened on that fateful night.

Daisy Haggard told “The idea came from a fascination with how hard we are on a woman who’s done a bad thing in comparison to how we treat men, and an imagining of what leaving prison would be like, and how hard it would be to rebuild your life in your late thirties in a small town where you’ve done this thing.

“I know it doesn’t sound like a comedy, but I was thinking about the adult beginner aspect of that and all the things you hadn’t done and how hard it would be to start again.”

Who’s in the cast of Back to Life?

Daisy Haggard (Episodes, Hang Ups), who writes the comedy, also stars as Miri – a character who is partly modelled on herself.

“In some ways, Miri would be how I would be in some situations,” said Haggard. “She gets pushed to the floor and bounces back up again, she’s an optimist and she’s positive and essentially not what you would expect from her shocking past.

“I do not have her shocking past but I share her relentless optimism.”

Back to Life (BBC)
Daisy Haggard in Back to Life (BBC)

Award-winning actress Geraldine James plays Miri’s sexually frustrated mother Caroline and Richard Durden (Brexit: The Uncivil War) stars as her recycling-obsessed father Oscar.

Back to Life (BBC)

Adeel Akhtar (Les Misérables) stars as next door neighbour Billy.

Back to Life (BBC)

Jo Martin (The Long Song) also appears as parole officer Janice, Jamie Michie (Game of Thrones) as first love Dom, Christine Bottomley (The End of the F***ing World) as ex-best friend Mandy and Liam Williams (Pls Like) as chip shop owner Nathan.

What crime did Back to Life's Miri commit?

In the first episode of Back to Life, Miri’s own mother hides the kitchen knives from her daughter and the words “psycho b***h” are painted in red on her garden fence – so it seems like Miri has done something pretty awful.

Daisy Haggard was very secretive when we tried to eke out some more details before the series launched, but she did promise that viewers would be “satisfied soon”.

“I am the worst person to write a show with spoilers because I just go really red and look anxious because I’m a compulsive truth teller,” she laughed.

“I’m not going to say what she’s done but you do find out, you don’t have to wait until the end of the series to find out, you find out quite soon and then the story goes on beyond that. You’ll be satisfied soon.

“If one does the maths, 18 years in prison is quite a long time. But there are many versions of the truth so you do find out a few versions of the truth throughout the series.”

Panicking, she added: “Don’t make me tell you. Please don’t make me tell you. Stop it. I’m going to tell you. Stop it!”

Where is Back to Life filmed?

Back to Life screenshot (BBC)

Discover the striking coastal settings of Back to Life in our filming location guide – and find out what the huge concrete block is.

Who are Back to Life producers Harry and Jack Williams?

harry and jack williams

Harry and Jack Williams are the executive producers of Back to Life alongside Sarah Hammond (Fleabag, Fried).

As well as penning The Missing and Baptiste, the Williams brothers are known for writing ITV's Liar and The Widow as well as BBC1's Rellik.

The duo also run a production company, Two Brothers Pictures, which has produced Fleabag, Strangers and Cheat.

“Harry and Jack very sweetly showed interest in doing a show with me,” said Haggard, “so I just pitched them endless shows that they said no to and one day I got Harry really drunk and I pitched this idea and he liked it – so that’s how it started.”

Is there a trailer for Back to Life?

There is indeed, here you go...


Back to Life launches as a boxset on BBC3 on Monday 15th April from 10am and will air weekly on BBC1 from Monday 15th April at 10.35pm


Sponsored content