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Noughts + Crosses producer explains why they aged up Sephy and Callum for the BBC adaptation

Malorie Blackman also gave her verdict on the changes at a Q&A screening of the first episode

Noughts & Crosses

One of the producers of the upcoming Noughts + Crosses TV adaptation has explained the decision to age up the two major characters from Malorie Blackman’s source novel.


Preethi Mavahalli said that making the characters older will prevent audiences from viewing their relationship as nothing more than “puppy love”, ensuring that the stakes are higher.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other media at a Q&A screening of the first episode, Mavahalli said, “That was probably the biggest change we decided to make.

“We had a lot of discussion with Malorie early in the development process and we felt that if you age up the characters they are forced into proper young adult choices, so as young characters it’s easy to dismiss their love as puppy love…whereas when they get older they’re really having to choose where their loyalties lie.

She added, “They have to make choices between their family and their lover and it felt like the stakes were higher and it really was able to push the premise further.”

Blackman said that she had no objection to the changes that had been made from her novel – claiming that the adaptation is “very true to the spirit and the soul of the book” despite some of the alterations.

She said, “There’s no way when you’re doing an adaptation that it can be exactly the same as the book.

“I’m one of these people who think if you’re doing a cover version of a song and you make it exactly the same as the original then why bother.”

Noughts and Crosses episode 1 will air on BBC One at 9pm on Thursday 5th March with all 6 episodes made available on BBC iPlayer following broadcast of the first episode. 


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