The BBC has commissioned new drama The Way written by James Graham (Sherwood, Quiz), directed by Michael Sheen (Good Omens, Staged), and co-created by Sheen, Graham and Adam Curtis (The Power Of Nightmares, HyperNormalisation).

It is developed and executive produced by Bethan Jones (War & Peace, Les Miserables).

The Way (3×60’) is Wales-based company Red Seam’s first production, made in association with Little Door Productions, and will film in and around Port Talbot later this year.

The Way “taps into the social and political chaos of today’s world by imagining a civil uprising which begins in a small industrial town.”

Meet the Driscolls – an ordinary family, in an extraordinary story of life, death and survival. Caught in a chain of events and power struggles that ripple out unleashing civil unrest, they are forced to escape the country they’ve always called home and the certainties of their old lives.

Will they be overwhelmed by their memories of the past, or will the Driscolls lay their ghosts to rest and take the risk of an unknown future?

The Way is an emotional and darkly humorous story about what it means to be faced with impossible choices.

Director Michael Sheen says: “I’m such an admirer of Adam and James’ work, so to create this project with them in these extraordinary times has been thrilling. I’m so excited to be telling this global story through the prism of my hometown and its community as we dig into the rollercoaster ride of our recent past and the mysterious depths that lay beneath.”

Writer James Graham says: “Working with Michael Sheen and Adam Curtis on building this story has been one of those “pinch-me” moments in the life of a writer. To tell a story set in Michael’s home community, and tapping into all the political and social themes of the moment – strikes, division, chaos and a loss of control – all while infusing it, we hope, with humour, magic and imagination has been the most creatively satisfying experience.”

Co-creator Adam Curtis says: “This is a really timely way to examine one of the great puzzles of this moment – why is it so hard to imagine a better, or even just different, kind of future for this country? What is holding us back? I can’t think of two more amazing people to do that with than James and Michael. ”

Bethan Jones, executive producer for Red Seam, says:  “The development of The Way has been a unique process –  from the original idea and concept presented by Michael to the challenges of exploring the authenticity of the story with Adam, and the joy of seeing it all brought together by James through brilliant characters and storytelling. It’s been a passion project for us all for some time and it’s very exciting to finally be making it with our brilliant production team and Little Door Productions’ invaluable support.”

Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama says: “The Way is a brave new drama that is both deeply grounded in its authenticity yet packed with imaginative spirit, as we follow the incredible journey of one family. It’s a privilege to be teaming up with Michael, James and Adam –  three of our country’s most creative minds – to bring their vision to the BBC.”

Gerwyn Evans, Deputy Director, Creative Wales says: “Through Creative Wales’ MOU with BBC Cymru, we are keen to build on our successful partnership arrangements with an exciting slate of productions coming to screen in 2023.  The Way is an excellent example of how we can use even more made in Wales content, using Welsh talent to tell our uniquely Welsh stories.”

The Way (3×60’) is made by Red Seam for the BBC in association with Little Door Productions. It is written by James Graham, directed by Michael Sheen in his directorial debut for television, and is produced by Derek Ritchie (The Capture, Luther). Adam Curtis, James Graham and Michael Sheen join Bethan Jones as executive producers for Red Seam, with Rebecca Ferguson for the BBC.  International distribution is by ITV Studios and additional funding support has been provided by the Welsh Government via Creative Wales.

The Way was co-commissioned with BBC Wales and will air on BBC One and iPlayer. Casting and further information will be announced in due course.

Jon Creamer

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