Filming has now begun on playwright Bash Doran’s (The Looming Tower, Traitors) adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel Life After Life, made by House Productions for BBC One.

Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace, Jojo Rabbit), Sian Clifford (Fleabag), James McArdle (Man in an Orange Shirt), Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) and Jessica Hynes (Years and Years) will lead the cast of the four-part drama, directed by BAFTA award-winning director John Crowley (Brooklyn, Boy A). They are joined by Patsy Ferran (Black Narcissus), Harry Michell (Yesterday), Laurie Kynaston (The Trouble with Maggie Cole) Joshua Hill (Small Axe) and Maria Laird (Derry Girls).

Thomasin McKenzie plays Ursula Todd who is born to Sylvie and Hugh (Sian Clifford and James McArdle) one night in 1910, but dies before she draws her first breath.

On that same night in 1910, Ursula is reborn and survives. Time and time again, living and dying in different circumstances, Ursula is reborn into a new, alternative iteration of life once more.

The story follows Ursula as she navigates each new life, through a critical era which spans two world wars, an encounter with Hitler and major life events. But what is it that Ursula so desperately needs to stay alive for?

Can a perfect life ever be lived? Can the course of history ever be changed? Can Ursula save the world?

Thomasin McKenzie, said: “I’m drawn to Life After Life because it makes me laugh, cry, clench my fists in anger or whoop with empowerment. Bash has done a stunning job at adapting Kate Atkinson’s masterpiece, and working with John has already taught me a great deal – reinforcing my love for collaborating and creating.”

Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell, executive producers for House Productions, said: “We feel extremely lucky to have worked with John Crowley and Fiona Weir to assemble such a very special cast – some of the UK’s most talented actors for this wonderful story of Ursula Todd’s many fascinating, joyful, traumatic, amusing and surprising lives. And in Thomasin, we have found our perfect heroine for Bash’s beautiful scripts. With her luminous intelligence, she brings an extraordinary maturity to this part.”

Lucy Richer, Senior Commissioning Editor for the BBC, adds: “I am thrilled that the brilliant Bash Doran has adapted Kate’s incredible and unique novel for the screen. Our outstanding director John Crowley has brought together a stunning cast led by the enchanting Thomasin McKenzie, and Life After Life is set to be a treat for BBC viewers.”

Life After Life (4×60) is executive produced by Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell for House Productions, Lucy Richer and Ayela Butt for the BBC and Bash Doran, John Crowley and Kate Atkinson. The producer is Kate Ogborn (The North Water). It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC Chief Content Officer and Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama. BBC Studios will internationally distribute the series.

 

Jon Creamer