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Hayley Atwell, Lenny Henry and Tamara Lawrance cast in new BBC period drama The Long Song

Lawrance stars as the story’s heroine and narrator in the three-part BBC1 adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel set in a Jamaican slave plantation

Published: Friday, 13th July 2018 at 12:01 am

Hayley Atwell is to play an odious slave owner in the BBC adaptation of The Long Song, Andrea Levy’s novel set in a slave plantation.


The Agent Carter star has been cast as Caroline Mortimer in the BBC1 three-part drama, owner of a 19th century Jamaican slave plantation.

The story is told principally from the perspective of Mortimer’s maid, a strong-willed young slave called July played by Tamara Lawrance (King Charles III, Undercover).

War & Peace star Jack Lowden plays Robert Goodwin, the new overseer of the plantation who brings with him revolutionary ideas about improving conditions. Lenny Henry plays Godfrey, Julia's fellow slave in the drama.

The series has been adapted by Sarah Williams and has just started filming in the Dominican Republic. The series is expected to air either at the end of the year of early in 2019.

The BBC said of the three-parter which is expected at the end of the year or early in 2019: “Three hundred years of slavery finally came to a chaotic end on the British-ruled Caribbean island of Jamaica in 1838. It is a shameful and rarely-acknowledged part of British colonial history. And though Abolition may have been the first step on the road to racial equality, it is a very long road and one upon which we still travel today."

Other members of the cast include Doña Croll (EastEnders) as Old July, Sharon Duncan-Brewster (The Boy with the Topknot) as Kitty, Ayesha Antoine (Chewing Gum) as Molly, Arinzé Kene (King Lear) as Thomas, Ansu Kabia (Murder on the Orient Express) as James Richards, Jordan Bolger (Peaky Blinders) as Nimrod, Joy Richardson (Children of Men) as Miss Rose, Madeleine Mantock (Charmed) as Miss Clara and Leo Bill (Taboo) as John Howarth.


The Long Song novel was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and longlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize. It won the 2011 Walter Scott Prize.


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