The BBC and Rocks producer Fable Pictures have announced new drama series Mr Loverman, based on the 2013 novel by the Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo for BBC One and iPlayer.

Lennie James (Save Me, Line of Duty) will star as the exuberant protagonist, Barrington Jedidiah Walker, in the eight-part drama adapted by Nathaniel Price (The Outlaws, Noughts & Crosses). Filming will begin later this year, with further casting to be announced. Sony Pictures Television (“SPT”) will distribute the series internationally. 

Barrington Jedidiah Walker, Esq. Barry to his mates. Trouble to his wife, his daughters, and his lover. Seventy years old, Antiguan born, exuberant Hackney personality, Barry is renowned for his dapper taste and fondness for retro suits. Carmel, his wife of 50 years, senses that Barry has been cheating on her with other women. Little does she know what’s really going on: a secret, decades-long passionate affair with his best friend and soulmate, Morris. Now entering the next chapter of his life, Barry has big choices to make that will force his whole family to question their own futures.

Bernardine Evaristo says, “I am thrilled that Mr Loverman is being adapted into television drama. I love the idea of them stepping beyond the pages of the novel and into people’s living rooms and lives.

Lennie James, says: “I can’t wait to get Barrington’s swagger on and help tell this crucial and complicated love story. As funny as it is sad. As full of heart as it is heartache...”

Mr Loverman screenwriter Nathaniel Price added: “From the moment I read ‘Mr Loverman’ I fell in love with Barry, Morris, Carmel and the entire Walker family. Bernardine’s novel is not only a beautiful, truthful story, full deeply human characters, it is a vitally important one. It is unflinching in its challenge of cultural myths and stereotypes, and an exhibition of just how deep and far-reaching the consequences of prejudice and fear can be. It has been an honour and a privilege to have had the chance to adapt this seminal work with the brilliant team at Fable to bring these unforgettable characters to life on screen.”

Faye Ward, Executive Producer for Fable Pictures said: “We have long been fans of both Bernardine Evaristo’s work and the indomitable Lennie James – to bring the two together in an adaptation of Mr Loverman for the BBC with Nathaniel Price’s superb scripts has been a highlight of Fable Pictures to date. It’s got everything you could wish for in its rich and beautiful story, and dives right to the heart of family with all its complexities.”

Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama says: “Mr Loverman is a must-read novel, and in the skilled hands of Nathaniel, Lennie and the Fable team it’s soon to be must-see television. I can’t think of a more perfect team to bring Bernardine’s exquisite story to the screen.” 

Mr Loverman (8×30’) will be directed by Hong Khaou (Baptiste, Lilting, Monsoon). It will be executive produced by Faye Ward, Hannah Farrell and Hannah Price for Fable Pictures, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. Lennie James will executive produce and Nathaniel Price will associate produce. Fable Pictures is a SPT-backed company.

Jon Creamer

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