Ambitious new BBC drama The Way premiered on Monday 19th February (all episodes are already available on BBC iPlayer), introducing viewers to the Driscolls, a Welsh family whose life in Port Talbot is about to change forever.


Not only does the series boast a stellar cast that includes Good Omens star Michael Sheen, Gavin & Stacey's Steffan Rhodri and Luke Evans, it also has a talented creative team onboard made up of Sheen, who also makes his directorial debut, Sherwood writer James Graham and unconventional documentarian Adam Curtis.

And though the events that transpire across the three episodes are fictional, Sheen and Graham have revealed they are very much inspired by reality. Particularly the tumultuous social, cultural and political climate of 2015/2016.

"[Sheen and Curtis] wanted to tell a story about the emerging chaos of the world that was happening in 2015/2016, which we all remember – the Brexit referendum, the 2016 US election, the migrant crisis in particular," Graham explained.

The cast of The Way in episode 1, protesting with placards saying Save Our Steel
The Way. BBC/Red Seam/Jon Pountney

Is The Way a true story? Creators Michael Sheen and James Graham explain inspiration

The actor and writer went into detail about their inspiration for the series, which touches upon a wide range of timely issues, while keeping things fresh.

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"I think the thing that excites me about the show and has done from the beginning is to tell a story that is both familiar and yet completely new," Sheen explained. "It deals with issues we’re all dealing with, seeing and observing around us all the time but it’s taken a completely different viewpoint on it."

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Graham added: "We wanted to tell a story that encompasses those global themes of disruption and the movement of people in particular around the world, but to try and give it an aggressively Welsh frame for that.

"And I guess just asking the question – when you look at these global crises like the war in Syria at the time, or the mass movement of refugees and people – asking, what would you do, what would you do if it happened here?

"We always think these things will happen millions of miles away, but what if your quiet Welsh town descended into anarchy and you and your family had to make a choice to leave and go and become a refugee yourself?"

Graham went on to explain that the Driscolls are a metaphor for the Union and the United Kingdom. "They're basically sorted together and sort of functioning, but there's lots of frictions, tensions and when we meet them, they're kind of together but apart," he said.

The collapse of Port Talbot leads them to face a tough choice: to stay in their hometown or leave it behind.

"Our family eventually choose to leave and go on this extraordinary journey where, essentially, they are refugees now in their own home, their own country," Graham explained. "So it is a normal family going on an extraordinary journey."

The Way became available to stream on BBC iPlayer from 6am on Monday 19th February, and airs on BBC One on Mondays at 9pm. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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