BBC One will bring to life the acclaimed David Nicholls’ novel Us with a multi-part adaptation by Nick Payne. Produced by Drama Republic, Us tells the story of Douglas and Connie Peterson, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks. When they go on a family grand tour of European cities, Douglas sees it as a last bid to win back the love of his wife, and repair his troubled relationship with his son.
BBC One will also tell the heart-warming story of Dame Barbara Windsor, the Cockney kid with a dazzling smile and talent to match. Single drama Babs will be written by Tony Jordan and air next year as she approaches her 80th birthday. The drama will be produced by BBC Studios in association with Red Planet Pictures.
BBC Two will bring to screen Sathnam Sanghera’s critically acclaimed memoir of love, secrets and lies – The Boy With The Topknot, produced by Parti Productions and Kudos. Set in Wolverhampton, the series will tell the humorous, touching and emotional story of a second-generation Indian growing up in Britain and how he juggles his family, love life and career.
BBC One has also confirmed a second series of Peter Bowker’s The A Word, the story of the Hughes family which has Joe, a boy with autism, at its heart, while BBC Two has ordered a further two series of Steven Knight’s 1920s Birmingham-based series Peaky Blinders.
Charlotte Moore, Acting Director of Television, says: Charlotte Moore says: “Following BBC Drama’s tremendous start to the year, it is clear audiences are looking for even greater ambition and high quality. So I want to continue to expand our range even further and reaffirm my commitment to commission the very best drama in the UK.
“Today I’m announcing a mix of contemporary, provocative pieces and surprising stories, with three new titles and two returning series. On BBC One, Us is an adaptation of David Nicholls’ bestseller about a modern marriage on the rocks. And Tony Jordan pens a touching single drama on the life of one of the nation’s best-loved actresses, Dame Barbara Windsor, who only last week bid an emotional farewell to EastEnders. On BBC Two, Sathnam Sanghera’s memoir The Boy With The Topknot will bring to life his personal story of a second generation Indian growing up in Wolverhampton. Two of our best writers, Peter Bowker and Steven Knight, have been recommissioned. Family drama The A-Word will return, challenging perceptions of living with autism, and we’ve commissioned two more series of the mesmerising Peaky Blinders for BBC Two.”
BBC Drama has achieved record ratings in 2016 for both BBC One and BBC Two. Call The Midwife was this year’s most-watched drama episode in the UK, with overnight figures of 9.2 million on BBC One, and Line Of Duty series three was the highest-rating BBC Two drama series ever (since current measuring system began in 2002), with a series consolidated average of 5.1m.
All dramas have been commissioned by Lucy Richer, Acting Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, and Charlotte Moore, Acting Director of Television, apart from Babs, which was commissioned by Charlotte and Polly Hill, Former Acting Controller of Drama.