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BBC orders 'epic' Steve McQueen drama about black community

NEW PROJECT: Director Steve McQueen

The BBC has formally commissioned an “epic” drama by Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen.

The drama, which is anticipated to follow the lives of a group of friends and their families from 1968 to 2014 in west London, will begin shooting in spring 2016.

McQueen will direct and co-write the drama, alongside writers including Debbie Tucker Green, who won a Bafta TV award in 2012 for Channel 4 show Random.

The BBC said it was "incredibly exciting to be working with the hugely talented British director.”

McQueen, who will be teaming up Rainmark Films, first mentioned the project in an interview with the Daily Mail in January last year, saying: "I don't think there has been a serious drama series in Britain with black people from all walks of life as the main protagonists."

In a bid to secure the services of in-demand McQueen, BBC drama controller Ben Stephenson took the unusual step of commissioning the series before reading a script.

While the project has yet to be assigned a BBC channel, McQueen and Rainmark are eager to secure a slot on BBC1.

“Steve would love it to be on BBC1,” Rainmark managing director Tracey Scoffield told Broadcast.

“He wants to reach a very wide audience with this. It is very entertaining and moving. Steve has done a lot of research on it and we’re now working on the script and appointing writers with an eye to shooting next spring.”

In addition to the untitled BBC project, McQueen is also developing a six-part series for HBO, titled Codes of Conduct, which follows a young black man from Queens, who enters New York’s high society.

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