Malorie Blackman’s YA Novel Exploring Racism Gets BBC Adaptation

The popular, critically acclaimed series by Barbadian-British author Malorie Blackman,“Noughts and Crosses” series, is to be adapted and serialised by Ghanaian-British writer Levi David Addai and Matthew Graham as part of an ambitious slate of“high quality” commissions made by BBC 1.

The young adult novel series, which uses a fictional dystopian setting to explore racism, follows politicians’ daughter Sephy who is a‘Cross’ and member of the black ruling class. Former Cross slave Callum is a ‘Nought’, a white member of the underclass. Friends since early childhood, Sephy and Callum must never fall in love, it is forbidden between Noughts and Crosses. With entrenched prejudice, distrust and insurgent rebellion mounting on the streets, a passionate romance builds between them, which will lead them into terrible danger. Divided by their color, but united by forbidden love and burning injustice, Sephy and Callum are fighting for more than simply the right to be together. Their existence within a contemporary dystopian State with strict race laws makes their daily existence a matter of life and death.

The multiple award-winning first book in the “Noughts and Crosses” series, including the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award, will be the source material for the series.

Director of BBC Content Charlotte Moore, said, “‘Noughts and Crosses’ is the definitive book for a young adult audience and the perfect fit for BBC 1. Superb, high octane compulsive storytelling set within an alternative history that explores really relevant themes about race, privilege and how we treat each other.”

Former Children’s Laureate 2013-1, Malorie Blackman, OBE, said, “I am beyond thrilled that ‘Noughts and Crosses’ will be dramatized by the BBC – it couldn’t have found a better home. Callum and Sephy seem to have meant a lot to readers over the years and I’m excited at the prospect of watching them on my TV!”

Critically acclaimed playwright (93.2FM, 2005, Oxford Street, 2008), screenwriter (Youngers, 2013) and 2011 Alfred Fagon Award recipient Levi David Addai, said, “I’m honored to be trusted with bringing Malorie Blackman’s superb novel to a BBC One audience. It’s a powerful story drawing on themes of hope, love and identity, set in a brilliantly conceived world that makes us think again about our own.” He will co-write with Graham.

Set to be produced by Mammoth Screen (Victoria, Black Work, Endeavour, Parade’s End), executive producers are Preethi Mavahalli and Managing Director Damien Timmer.

We say that this is just a delightful development!


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