British-Nigerian Star Wars actor John Boyega will star in Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen’s BBC1 drama Small Axe (6×60′) next year.
The UK public broadcaster’s show, which also stars Black Panther actor Letitia Wright, tells five different stories over six episodes set in London’s West Indian community between the 1960s and 80s.
The series is executive produced by Tracey Scoffield and David Tanner for Turbine Studios and McQueen for Lammas Park. Shooting began on location in London on June 24.
The drama was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, director of BBC Content, and the executive producer for the BBC is Lucy Richer, senior commissioning editor for drama. BBC Studios is handling worldwide sales.
McQueen, who is also the show’s executive producer, said: “I felt these stories needed to be shared. I wanted to relive, re-evaluate and investigate the journeys that my parents and the first generation of West Indians went on to deliver me here today, calling myself a black British person. What’s important about our stories is that they are local but at the same time global.
“I think audiences will identify with the trials, tribulations and joy of our characters as well as reflecting on the present environment in which we find ourselves. The dynamic nature of the series allows us to confront injustice in the face of adversity.”
Boyega has appeared in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the film adaptation of the hit novel A Naked Singularity, sci-fi romance Hold Back the Stars and also produced South African thriller God is Good. McQueen’s credits include Widows and Twelve Years A Slave.
Production is currently underway on location in London. Small Axe is newly formed production company Turbine Studios’ first project. The company was set up last year by producers Scoffield and Tanner alongside Andrew Eaton (The Crown, The Trip) and Justin Thomson (The Fall, Death Comes To Pemberley).