Gavin & Stacey and Abigail’s Party star Alison Steadman is to front BBC drama Life from Doctor Foster creator Mike Bartlett.
Steadman is joined by Peter Davison, who starred as the Doctor in the fifth iteration of Doctor Who, Adrian Lester (Riviera), Victoria Hamilton (Doctor Foster) and Rachael Stirling (The Bletchley Circle) in the six-part series.
The Drama Republic-fronted series, which has just begun filming in Manchester, follows the stories of the residents in a large house in Manchester divided into flats. As each of the four separate, relatable yet surprising strands unfold, they tell a larger story about what happens when we decide to step out of our own personal space and take a closer look into other people’s lives.
Gail, played by Steadman, who is married to Henry, played by Davison, is about to celebrate her 70th birthday when a chance encounter throws her whole life into question. David, played by Lester, is happily married to Kelly, played by Stirling, but is conflicted by temptation when he meets the impulsive Saira, played by No Offence’s Saira Choudhry, on holiday. Hamilton plays Pilates teacher Belle, whose neatly ordered life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of her chaotic 15 year old niece Maya, played by Les Miserables’ Erin Kellyman. Heavily pregnant Hannah, played by The Interceptor’s Melissa Johns, who is happily coupled up with safe and stable Liam, played by Black Mirror’s Joshua James, has her plans upended by the return of Andy, played by Kingsman’s Calvin Demba, with whom she had a passionate one-night stand nine months previously.
The cast also includes Elaine Paige (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Susannah Fielding (This Time with Alan Partridge).
Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who directed Nick Cave drama-doc 20,000 Days On Earth, will direct the first three episodes, with theater director Kate Hewitt director helming the remaining three. It is exec produced by Roanna Benn, Jude Liknaitzky and Mike Bartlett for Drama Republic and Ben Irving for BBC One and will be produced by Kate Crowther. BBC Studios will handle international distribution
Steadman said, “Mike Bartlett is a brilliant writer and has created an extraordinary character in Gail. I’m delighted to be playing her in Life.”
Bartlett said, “This show is all about a group of remarkable characters with unexpected desires and hidden secrets, in search of something beyond their everyday lives. It’s just wonderful to have this fantastic cast to tell those stories, and to be working again with Drama Republic for the BBC.”
Ben Irving, Executive Producer for BBC One added, “It’s fitting that such an exceptional ensemble cast should be drawn together by Mike Bartlett’s extraordinary scripts. This is a beautiful, tender, funny, and unexpected emotional rollercoaster of a show and we can’t wait to bring it to audiences on BBC One.”
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