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When is Black Earth Rising on TV? Who's in the cast? What's it about?

Everything you need to know about BBC2’s new war crimes thriller starring Michaela Coel, John Goodman and Harriet Walter

Published: Monday, 22nd October 2018 at 9:30 am

Black Earth Rising, from the Bafta-winning writer Hugo Blick, is one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year.


The intense six-parter is set to tackle the prosecution of international war crimes and the thorny issue of the West's relationship with Africa.

Here’s everything you need to know…

When is Black Earth Rising on TV?

Black Earth Rising began on Monday 10th September at 9pm on BBC2.

It continues on Mondays at 9pm on BBC2.

What is Black Earth Rising about?

The drama follows Kate Ashby, a woman who, as a young child, was rescued during the Rwandan genocide and brought to Britain.

Her adoptive mother Eve Ashby is a world class British prosecutor in international criminal law, and now Kate has followed in her footsteps – working as a legal investigator in the law chambers of Michael Ennis.

But when Eve prosecutes an African militia leader at the International Criminal Court, the story takes an unexpected turn for everyone involved.

According to the BBC, Black Earth Rising will explore "issues of justice, guilt and self-determination" across Europe, the UK, Africa and the USA.

Writer and director Hugo Blick said: “‘The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.’ I was never quite sure exactly what this famous quote meant but by following the fictional journey of a young black British woman on an epic and deeply personal quest to bring a Rwandan genocidaire to legal justice – now I do.

“And now I know just how critical, difficult and terrifying that phrase can seem to anyone in pursuit, and denial, of international criminal justice”.

Who is in the Black Earth Rising cast?

Chewing Gum creator and star Michaela Coel plays Kate, and is joined by The Crown's Harriet Walter as Eve and John Goodman (Roseanne) as Michael Ennis.

The lead cast are joined by Paapa Essiedu (Kiri), Noma Dumezweni (Harry Potter & the Cursed Child), Tamara Tunie (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Devil’s Advocate), Lucian Msamati (Taboo, Kiri) and Abena Ayivor (A United Kingdom).

Who wrote Black Earth Rising?

Hugo Blick penned Black Earth Rising. His previous credits include Bafta-winning series The Shadow Line starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, and he also wrote The Honourable Woman, Sensitive Skin and Marion & Geoff.

Is there a Black Earth Rising trailer?

Yes, and it’s explosive. Here you go…

What happened in the Rwandan genocide?

In the space of 100 days between April and June 1994, an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in Africa's largest genocide in modern times.

Most of the dead were members of the minority Tutsi community, who were slaughtered by Hutu extremists. The catalyst for the genocide was the death of the Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, a Hutu, when his plane was shot down above Kigali airport on 6 April 1994.


Hutu extremists blamed the Tutsi rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front, and immediately started a campaign of slaughter.


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