Director of BBC Drama, Lindsay Salt, has announced the order of 12 dramas totalling 66 hours.

The orders are for Left Bank, Mam Tor, House Productions, Fearless Minds, Warp Films, Gaumont, Sister, The Forge, Element Pictures, Two Cities and A24.

She made the announcement this evening at a speech to drama creatives that urged producers, writers and directors to “venture into the creative unknown” as she set out her vision for BBC Drama.

Salt said: “I believe that the BBC is the only place that can promise true boldness and braveness in all our decision making. In an era of caution, it’s our time to shine.”

“There’s something about this moment, the current climate in our industry, that makes our approach to risk even more essential.”

The Director of Drama warned that the industry has seen a shift in recent years from ‘Peak TV’ to ‘Peak Caution’.

“Inflation, content and platform saturation, streamer retrenchment, the writers’ strike, it’s all fed a serious slowdown. Five years ago, everyone was willing to make brave choices…But today there’s much more short termism…

“I worry that risk-taking is becoming a dirty word. And that, in less than a decade, the industry might be moving from Peak TV to Peak Caution.

“But not the BBC…there’s something about this moment, the current climate in our industry, that makes our approach to risk even more essential.

“While others might become more cautious, we will go further and take the risks others won’t.”

Salt said that it was the role of the BBC to back the best British storytelling and she wants to redefine ‘state of the nation’ drama. She said: “Over the next few years, I want the BBC to redefine ‘state of the nation’ drama. I want us to use our appetite and ability to take risks to shake up what ‘state of the nation’ really means, and re-purpose it for new audiences.

“It’s a phrase that – in my opinion – has become a little dusty and old-fashioned.  Sometimes associated with shows that are earnest or overloaded with messages. Static when it should be dynamic and vibrant and necessary.

“It should mean stories that are honest and emotional, revealing and messy… It should reflect something different to different age groups and communities.”

She cited dramas such as State of Play, Three Girls and Our Friends in the North as state of the nation dramas, along with I May Destroy You and This is Going to Hurt.

“They can be playful in their exploration of modern dilemmas and issues. All of these may be tonally different but they all have an urgency, an immediacy. They all provoke reflection – about who we are as a society and who we are as people. They’re all dramas that are both timely and timeless.”

Salt identified “currency”, “character” and “empathy” as her three priorities to redefine state of the nation drama.

On currency she said it meant work that feels alive, “Slices of life that speak to the human condition, in order to tell us something important about the UK right now. We want to use the scale of the BBC to start big conversations.”

She also urged a concentration on character. “I think the industry has tipped too far towards flashy concepts over true characterisation in recent years. We want to redress the balance, embrace the medium of television and find the next Catherine Cawoods, Luthers, Villanelles, Tommy Shelbys, Sherlocks, Doctor Fosters and Sister Juliennes! Vibrant, recognisable, truthful, knotty characters that speak to the heart and end up feeling like family or friends. Even when they’re badly behaved! I want us to create the new generation of iconic characters.”

On empathy, her third priority, she added: “I believe too much of the industry has put head over heart in recent years. The rational squeezing out the unknowable and unpredictable…I want us to commission from the heart, to create TV for the soul.”




Dear England is a new drama series about Gareth Southgate and the England men’s football team, based on James Graham’s (Sherwood, The Way, Quiz) smash hit National Theatre play of the same name. Joseph Fiennes (The Handmaid’s Tale, Shakespeare in Love) will star as Gareth Southgate. Rupert Goold (Judy, King Charles III, The Hollow Crown), who directed Dear England on stage, will direct the series.

The four-part drama will be written by James Graham and made for BBC One and BBC iPlayer by Left Bank Pictures (The Crown, Quiz, Sitting in Limbo).

Dear England (4×60) was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama. It is written by James Graham and will be directed by Rupert Goold. Executive producers are Andy Harries for Left Bank Pictures, Jo McClellan for the BBC, James Graham and Rupert Goold. Sony Pictures Television will distribute the series internationally.


Lions (working title), is an original six-part drama about two men across the decades, written and created by the multi award-winning writer and performer Richard Gadd (Baby Reindeer, Sex Education). Set and filmed in and around Glasgow, the series is made by Mam Tor Productions (a Banijay UK company) for BBC One, BBC Scotland and BBC iPlayer.

When Niall’s estranged ‘brother’ Ruben shows up at his wedding, it leads to an explosion of violence that catapults us back through their lives. Spanning almost forty years from the 1980s to the present day, this ambitious series will cover the highs and lows of the brothers’ relationship, from them meeting as teenagers to their falling out as adults – with all the good, bad, terrible, funny, angry, and challenging moments along the way. It will capture the wild energy of a changing city – a changing world, even – and try to get to the bottom of the difficult question… What does it mean to be a man?Lions (w/t, 6×45) was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, and is created and written by Richard Gadd. The lead director is Alexandra Brodski (Somewhere Boy, Rivals) and the producer is Wendy Griffin (Limbo, The Lost King). Executive producers are Tally Garner and Morven Reid for Mam Tor Productions, Richard Gadd, and Gaynor Holmes for the BBC with Gavin Smith for BBC Scotland. Lions (w/t) is supported by Screen Scotland, and Banijay Rights will distribute the series internationally.


Mint is a darkly comic and unconventional drama about what it means to be part of a crime family, from writer and filmmaker Charlotte Regan who garnered huge critical acclaim for her recent, BAFTA-nominated film Scrapper.

This eight-part series, from producers Fearless Minds and House Productions, chooses not to focus on the usual suspects – the godfather or the heavy – preferring instead to follow the kids, the mum and the grandma in the family. It’s a story about the love, darkness, humour, heartbreak and plain weirdness of living alongside that world, and what happens when you’re forced to take control of it.

Mint (8 x 30’) is produced by Fearless Minds (Soul Mates, The Critic) and House Productions (Sherwood, the Iron Claw). It is written and directed by Charlotte Regan and is executive produced by Jolyon Symonds for Fearless Minds and Tessa Ross, Juliette Howell and Theo Barrowclough for House Productions and the executive producer for the BBC is Rebecca Ferguson. Mint was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, BBC Director of Drama. This is Theo’s second collaboration with Regan, having produced Scrapper, and won the 2023 BIFA Breakthrough Producer Award for the film.


Reunion is an emotional thriller of revenge and redemption, which follows the journey of a deaf man determined to right his wrongs, while unravelling the truth behind the events that led him to prison.

Produced by Warp Films, the four-part series for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, is written by William Mager, a deaf writer originally from Sheffield, who will also executive produce. It is set and filmed in and around Sheffield and Doncaster.

Reunion features Brennan, who embodies the struggle of a man caught between two worlds, unable to fully integrate into the hearing world and shunned by the deaf community. Amidst this isolation, Brennan’s only meaningful relationship is with his estranged daughter Ellen, who he hasn’t seen in over a decade while he’s been in prison.

The majority of the cast will be deaf or using British Sign Language (BSL). There will also be a number of opportunities for deaf crew members.

Reunion (4 x 60) is a Warp Films production for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. William Mager is the writer and executive producer. Mark Herbert (Four Lions, The Virtues, This is England) and Gwen Gorst (Unforgotten, A Discovery of Witches) are executive producers and Rebecca Ferguson and Jo McClellan are executive producers for the BBC. Siobhan Morgan is associate producer (Waterloo Road, Hollyoaks) for Warp Films, Helen Ostler (The Last Kingdom, Crime) is producer, Luke Snellin (One Day, Wanderlust) is director.

Reunion was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, BBC Director of Drama. BBC Studios will distribute the series internationally.


Film Club is the screenwriting debut from actors Aimee Lou Wood (Living, Sex Education, White Lotus s3) and Ralph Davis (SAS Rogue Heroes, Life After Life, Othello). The six-part series will be made by Gaumont (Locked In, Obsession, For Her Sins) for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. Co-creator Aimee Lou Wood, who won a BAFTA for her role in Sex Education, will star in Film Club as Evie.

Every Thursday. 9pm. Tom and Evie watch a film together in her garage. Evie lovingly decorates the space to match the film of the week – from a yellow brick road for The Wizard of Oz to a space craft for Alien. It’s magical. They’re there for the love of the movies. Or at least, that’s what they tell themselves.

In reality, Tom is madly in love with Evie. What he doesn’t know is that Evie is in love with him too. But when Tom accepts a job at the other end of the country, their happily ever after comes under threat. He’s leaving in six weeks. That means Evie has six film clubs left to tell Tom how she feels, or risk losing him forever.

Film Club (6×30) was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, and Fiona Campbell, Controller Youth Audience, BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. It is made by Gaumont for the BBC and created and written by Aimee Lou Wood and Ralph Davis. Executive producers are Alison Jackson and Jamie Jackson for Gaumont and Nawfal Faizullah for the BBC. International distribution will be handled by Fremantle.


The Split Up is a new six-part series featuring the high-stakes world of Manchester’s divorce law circuit, where one family of lawyers, the Kishans, reigns supreme.

Produced by Northern SISTER in association with Little Chick for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, The Split Up’s story and characters are created by Ursula Rani Sarma (Smother, Delicious) and based on The Split created by Abi Morgan, who will executive produce alongside Sarma and The Split alumni, Lucy Dyke, Jane Featherstone and producer Sumrah Mohammed.

Kishan Law is a British-Asian high net worth family law firm in Manchester, noted for its clientele and its reputation. They are the ‘go to firm’ for Manchester’s elite who come to them for their excellence, integrity, and discretion. But the future and legacy of Kishan Law hangs in the balance when a family secret from the past comes to light, throwing their professional and personal lives into turmoil.

The Split Up’s story and characters are created by Ursula Rani Sarma and based on The Split created by Abi Morgan. Produced by Northern SISTER in association with Little Chick, The Split Up is commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama. The series is executive produced by Lucy Dyke (Passenger, The Split 1 – 3) and Jane Featherstone (This Is Going to Hurt, Chernobyl, The Split 1 – 3) for Northern SISTER, Abi Morgan (Eric, The Hour, The Split 1 – 3) for Little Chick, Ursula Rani Sarma (Smother, Delicious) and Lucy Richer for the BBC, with Sumrah Mohammed (Passenger, The Split 3) set to produce. The international distribution will be handled by BBC Studios.


We Go Again (working title) is from award-winning writer Janice Okoh (Sanditon, Hetty Feather). The six-part series is based on Janice’s play Three Birds, winner of the prestigious Bruntwood Playwriting Prize, and is made for BBC Three and BBC iPlayer by The Forge Entertainment (The Buccaneers, Help, Ackley Bridge), a Banijay UK Company.

We Go Again (w/t) is a comedy drama about three stubbornly optimistic siblings with a dark secret. When their mum disappears, they will do anything to keep it quiet so they can stay together as a family, but – as feistily resilient and fiercely loyal as they are – can they really outwit the authorities and carry on with life under the radar?

We Go Again (w/t, 6×45) was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, and Fiona Campbell, Controller Youth Audience, BBC Three and BBC iPlayer. The series is created and written by Janice Okoh and will be directed by Nathaniel Martello-White (The Strays), who also serves as co-executive producer. The producer is Jade Taylor (Ackley Bridge, Becoming Elizabeth). Executive producers are George Ormond (Ackley Bridge, National Treasure) and George Faber (Shameless, Skins) for The Forge Entertainment (a Banijay UK company), Danielle Scott-Haughton for the BBC, and Janice Okoh. We Go Again (w/t) will be distributed internationally by Banijay Rights.

Filming will take place in and around Birmingham and Coventry later this year.


The Listeners, starring Rebecca Hall (Christine, The Town, Vicky Christina Barcelona) and based on the novel by Jordan Tannahill, who has also written the adaptation.

Produced by Element Pictures (Normal People, The Favourite, Poor Things), a Fremantle company, and directed by Janicza Bravo (Zola, Poker Face, Mrs America) for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, the series centres around Claire (Rebecca Hall), a popular English teacher, who begins to hear a low humming sound that no one else around her can hear.

This seemingly innocuous noise gradually upsets the balance of her life, increasing tension between herself and her husband, Paul, and daughter, Ashley. But despite multiple doctors, no obvious source or medical cause can be found. But when she discovers that a student of hers, Kyle (Ollie West – Hamnet), can also hear the sound, the two strike up an unlikely and intimate friendship. Finding themselves increasingly isolated from their families, friends and colleagues, they fall in with a disparate group of neighbours, led by a charismatic couple, Jo and Omar, who also claim they can hear The Hum – and who believe it could be a gift, heard only by a “chosen few.”

The Listeners is an Element Pictures (a Fremantle company) production for the BBC. The series is written by Jordan Tannahill and directed by Janicza Bravo. Both also serve as executive producers, alongside Ed Guiney, Andrew Lowe, Chelsea Morgan Hoffmann and Rachel Dargavel for Element Pictures, Rebecca Ferguson for the BBC and Alice Birch.   The series is produced by BAFTA-nominated Ed King (His House, Suspect, Howl). Global sales will be handled by Fremantle.


The Dream Lands is a coming-of-age story with a twist, based on Rosa Rankin-Gee’s enthralling novel Dreamland, and brought to life for TV by Kayleigh Llewellyn, the BAFTA-award winning creator and writer of acclaimed series, In My Skin. The six-part series is produced by SISTER (This is Going to Hurt, Gangs of London) for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

Set in a near future Margate, against a backdrop of soaring inequality, The Dream Lands tells the story of Chance, a young woman who discovers life and love, while being forced to fight for her family’s survival in a world that’s crumbling around her.

It’s 2039 and temperatures are soaring, seas are rising, and the political climate is equally as menacing. Chance is living a life of crime just to get by, when her community is singled out for a government rejuvenation scheme, promising to bring her coastal town back to life. But when Chance falls in love with Franky, a girl with ties to the establishment, she and those closest to her begin to realise that all may not be as it seems.

Produced by SISTER for BBC One and BBC iPlayer, The Dream Lands was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama. It is executive produced by Naomi de Pear (This is Going to Hurt, The Power) and Holly Pullinger (This is Going to Hurt, Eric) for SISTER, Kayleigh Llewellyn (In My Skin, Killing Eve, Chloe), Lucy Forbes (This is Going to Hurt, In My Skin, Eric), author Rosa Rankin-Gee and Rebecca Ferguson for the BBC. It was developed by Director of Development for SISTER Alice Tyler (The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies). 


This City is Ours is an epic new crime drama created by writer Stephen Butchard (The Good Mothers, The Last Kingdom, Five Daughters) and made by Left Bank Pictures (The Crown, Quiz, Sitting in Limbo) for BBC One and BBC iPlayer. The eight-part series will be set and filmed in Liverpool. Sony Pictures Television will distribute the series internationally.

This City is Ours is the story of Michael, a man who for all of his adult life has been involved in organised crime… but for the first time in his life, Michael is in love. For the first time in his life, he sees beyond the day-to-day, he sees a future: something to win and something to lose – Diana.

This City is Ours tells the story of Michael and Diana’s love affair, set against the disintegration of Michael’s crime gang. For years, together with his friend Ronnie, Michael has successfully been bringing cocaine into the City and beyond, directly from Columbia; but when a shipment goes missing, then he knows their Kingdom is under attack.

This City is Ours (8×60) was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama. It was created by Stephen Butchard, who serves as lead writer, with Robbie McNeill writing further episodes. The director is Saul Dibb (Journey’s End, The Sixth Commandment). The producer is Simon Maloney (Time, I May Destroy You). Executive producers are Andy Harries, Rebecca Hodgson and Sian McWilliams for Left Bank Pictures, Stephen Butchard and Saul Dibb, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. Sony Pictures Television will distribute the series internationally.

This City is Ours will film in and around Liverpool, with additional filming in Spain, later this year.


The BBC has ordered two more six-part series of the critically acclaimed Belfast-based police drama Blue Lights from Two Cities Television for BBC One and iPlayer. The news of series three and four comes ahead of the much anticipated second series which is set to air this spring.

Co-created and written by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, Blue Lights is an authentic, gripping and darkly funny drama about ordinary people doing an extraordinary job. series one which aired in March last year, followed three new PSNI probationary recruits as they navigated their way through their first few months in a uniquely complex place to be a response police officer.

Blue Lights is co-created, written and directed by Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson, co-created and produced by Stephen Wright of Two Cities Television and co-created and co-produced by Louise Gallagher of Gallagher Films with support from Northern Ireland Screen. Blue Lights was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer. The executive producers are Stephen Wright (Two Cities Television), Louise Gallagher (Gallagher Films), Declan Lawn and Adam Patterson and the BBC executive producer is Nick Lambon.

BBC Studios will distribute both series internationally in addition to series one and two. Series one of Blue Lights has already travelled across the globe including, the United States, Australia, the Netherlands, Poland, Norway and across several Asian countries including India, Singapore and Malaysia. Two Cities Television is part of the STV Studios family of production labels.


The Ministry of Time, a new drama based on Kaliane Bradley’s hotly anticipated debut novel of the same name, adapted by Alice Birch (Normal People, The End We Start From, Dead Ringers). The six-part series will be produced by A24 (Beef, Such Brave Girls, Dreaming Whilst Black) for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

The Ministry of Time, a newly established government department, is gathering ‘expats’ from across history in an experiment to test the viability of time-travel. Commander Graham Gore (an officer on Sir John Franklin’s doomed 1845 Arctic expedition) is one such figure rescued from certain death – alongside an army captain from the fields of the Somme, a plague victim from the 1600s, a widow from revolutionary France, and a soldier from the seventeenth century.

The expats are placed with 21st century liaisons, known as ‘bridges’, in unlikely flatshares. Gore has to learn about contemporary life from scratch: from air travel to industrial warfare, from feminism to Spotify, from cinema to indoor plumbing; and he must negotiate cohabiting with the ambitious modern woman who works as his bridge. After an awkward beginning, the pair start to find pleasure and comfort in each other’s company, developing a relationship that is simultaneously tender, intense and profoundly unprofessional; and the expats, adrift in a new era, form friendships that ground and support them in the lonely 21st century, where they have outlived everyone they ever knew and loved.

The Ministry of Time (6×60) was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, and is written by Alice Birch, adapted from the forthcoming novel by Kaliane Bradley. It is executive produced by A24, Alice Birch, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. The series will be distributed internationally by A24.

Jon Creamer

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