BBC One has announced a new six-part drama series entitled Accused to debut later this year. Produced by RSJ Films, the producers behind The Street, each hour-long episode focuses on a single individual just before he is sentenced for a crime. As the hour unfolds we discover the details that lead to them being accused and if they deserve the sentence they get.
Christopher Eccleston stars in the first episode, “Willy’s Story,” written by Jimmy McGovern. Eccleston plays lapsed Catholic Willy, who is a good plumber and a loving father, but he fails to be a faithful husband. Just when Willy is about to confess to his wife Carmel, played by Pooky Quesnel, his daughter announces she’s getting married. Willy’s guilty secret must wait while pressure from all sides keeps growing. He is about to implode when he finds something in the back of a cab and it’s either the answer to his prayers or the beginning of his downfall.
Mackenzie Crook stars as Buckley in “The Soldier Story,” also written by Jimmy McGovern. Buckley is a man you need on your side if you are to survive. Benjamin Smith and Ben Batt play Frankie Nash and Peter McShane respectively, two friends who join the British army. Soon they are on the frontline in Afghanistan where they learn that not obeying orders has deadly consequences, and that the enemy are not necessarily who you think they are. Robert Pugh plays Peter McShane Senior, an army veteran who is proud to have a son in the military keeping the family tradition alive.
Jimmy McGovern says: “In the time it takes to climb the steps to the court we tell the story of how the accused came to be here. We see the crime and we see the punishment. Nothing else. No police procedure, thanks very much, no coppers striding along corridors with coats flapping. Just crime and punishment – the two things that matter most in any crime drama. It’s great to work with Chris again and I’ve often tried in the past to get Mackenzie into something of mine. And needless to say, it’s wonderful to reunite the team that made The Street.”
Polly Hill, BBC Commissioning Editor, adds: “After three wonderful, award-winning series of The Street, we are thrilled the same team are making Accused for BBC One. The first commission for RSJ Films, Jimmy McGovern, Sita Williams and Roxy Spencer, together with David Blair, continue to make drama that is relevent, challenging and above all moving. I’m sure this will prove to be a real treat for the BBC One audience.”
Filming on the series begins on May 30th and continues through the end of August. Casting, titles and descriptions for the remaining four episodes will be announced shortly. The directors for the series are David Blair (The Street) on episodes 1, 2, 5 and 6, and Richard Laxton (An Englishman In New York) on episodes 3 and 4. Accused was commissioned by BBC One Controller Jay Hunt, and Ben Stephenson, Controller of Drama Commissioning, and is executive produced for the BBC by Polly Hill, Commissioning Editor, Independent Drama. Sita Williams is the producer and executive producer for RSJ Films.