Three Families start date and trailer revealed for new BBC One drama

Three Families 2021 release date and cast for BBC series

BBC has revealed the start date and first trailer for its new drama Three Families.


Set between 2013 and 2019, the new series tells the real story of three women and their families before the recent change to abortion legislation in Northern Ireland.

With a cast including Sinéad Keenan (Little Boy Blue), Lola Petticrew (Bloodlands), Amy James-Kelly (Gentleman Jack) and Genevieve O’Reilly (The Dry), Three Families explores the emotive issues around abortion in Northern Ireland, and the experience of families whose lives have been profoundly affected.

Further cast includes Colin Morgan (Humans), Owen McDonnell (Killing Eve), Prasanna Puwanarajah (Defending the Guilty) and Kerri Quinn (Coronation Street).

When does Three Families start on TV?

Three Families will air across two episodes on Monday, 10 May and Tuesday, 11 May at 9PM on BBC One.

As well as watching on TV, the drama will be available to watch online via BBC iPlayer.

A synopsis of the first half shares: “Northern Ireland, 2013. A mother is forced to question her own beliefs when her teenage daughter reveals she is pregnant. Intent only on protecting her child, Theresa makes a hard choice.


“But as word starts to get out, she discovers that she could face a prison sentence for breaking one of Northern Ireland’s most controversial laws.

“Young newlyweds Hannah and Jonathan are devastated when they learn that their much-wanted baby will not survive the pregnancy. In their grief, the couple speak to their doctor about their options, only to realise how limited their choices are.”

A preview of episode 2 reveals: “Determined to change the law, Hannah throws herself into campaigning. Her fight brings victory in the High Court, which soon turns to frustration with the political powers at Stormont.

Meanwhile, first-time older mother Rosie discovers there is no legal remedy to the heartbreaking complications with her pregnancy.

“Theresa learns her trial date, but she still hasn’t told Orla that she’s facing prison for what they did. When Orla discovers the truth, she insists on supporting her mother to challenge the prosecution.”


The series has been written by Gwyneth Hughes (Doing Money, Vanity Fair) and directed by Alex Kalymnios (The White Princess, Being Human). Names and details have been changed to ensure the anonymity of the real-life contributors.

Picture: BBC/Studio Lambert/Photographer: Peter Marley