The BBC has announced casting for This City is Ours (w/t), Left Bank’s “epic” new crime drama now filming in Liverpool and Spain.

The eight-part series is created and written by Stephen Butchard (The Good Mothers, The Last Kingdom, Five Daughters), directed by Saul Dibb (The Salisbury Poisonings, The Sixth Commandment) and John Hayes (Nightsleeper, Dublin Murders), and produced by Left Bank Pictures for BBC iPlayer and BBC One. Sony Pictures Television will distribute the series internationally.

Two-time BAFTA TV Award-winning actor Sean Bean (Marriage, Time) will play gang leader Ronnie Phelan, with James Nelson-Joyce (Bird, A Thousand Blows) as Ronnie’s friend, Michael Kavanagh. Hannah Onslow (Empire of Light, This Is Going to Hurt) will play Diana Williams, Michael’s partner, and Jack McMullen (Hijack, Ford V Ferrari) plays Ronnie’s son, Jamie Phelan. Julie Graham (Shetland, Time) will play Elaine, head of the Phelan family alongside her husband Ronnie.

Set and filmed in Liverpool, This City is Ours is the story of Michael, a man who for all of his adult life has been involved in organised crime, working for his friend and the gang leader Ronnie. When Ronnie begins to hint at retirement, Michael too begins to imagine another life. Because, “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 is the story of Michael and Diana’s love affair, set against the disintegration of Michael’s crime gang. For years, together with Ronnie, Michael has successfully been bringing cocaine into the City and beyond, directly from Columbia; but when a shipment goes missing, he knows their Kingdom is under attack.

This City is Ours explores what happens when Ronnie’s son Jamie decides he wants to inherit their kingdom and that there is no longer a place for Michael at the table. Both Michael and Jamie have bold ideas to modernise the gang and they will battle for control of it. But Michael’s biggest battle will be to save the woman he loves and the child he has always wanted.

Also joining the cast are Laura Aikman (Archie, Gavin & Stacey) as Rachel Duffy, Kevin Harvey (Treason, Time) as Bobby Duffy, Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Derry Girls, Upgraded) as Cheryl Crawford, Mike Noble (Shardlake, The Long Shadow) as Banksey, Bobby Schofield (SAS Rogue Heroes, The Suspect) as Bonehead, Darci Shaw (Judy, A Thousand Blows) as Melissa Phelan, and Stephen Walters (Slow Horses, Anne) as Davy Crawford.

James Nelson-Joyce says: “It’s an absolute honour to be a part of this exciting show. I knew from reading the first episode that I had to take on this compelling story of crime, loyalty and above all, love.”

Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, says: “It’s a joy to see cameras rolling on This City Is Ours with a glorious cast who have made Stephen Butchard’s sublime scripts even more exciting. Under the skilful direction of Saul Dibb, BBC viewers are in for one hell of a ride.”

Andy Harries, CEO of Left Bank Pictures and Executive Producer says: “Stephen Butchard is a master storyteller, and his scripts are sharp, fast-paced and brilliantly observed. He throws us in at the deep end with fascinating, multi-faceted characters and we have put together a top tier cast to bring them to life. This City is Ours is going to blow the bloody doors off.”

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 O’Neill writing further episodes. The director is Saul Dibb (The Salisbury Poisonings, The Sixth Commandment). The producer is Simon Maloney (Peaky Blinders, 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. Additional funding and support comes from the Liverpool Film Office through its Liverpool City Region Production Fund.

Additional funding and support comes from the Liverpool Film Office through its Liverpool City Region Production Fund. The production will film in and around the city for 14 weeks from late May onwards and will work with Liverpool Film Office to support trainee placements for several local new entrant crew from diverse backgrounds.

Jon Creamer

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