January 22nd: Cast for new BBC One / HBO drama revealed

January 22nd

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The BBC has unveiled the cast of its new drama with HBO, January 22nd.

Filming on the new series, written by and starring Michaela Coel, started in London this week.

January 22nd is described as a "fearless, frank and provocative drama that explores the question of sexual consent in contemporary life and how, in the new landscape of dating and relationships, we make the distinction between liberation and exploitation."

Bafta award-winning Coel (Black Earth Rising, Chewing Gum) leads the cast in the role of Arabella.

She will be joined by Weruche Opia (Inside No. 9, Sliced) as Terry Pratchard and Paapa Essiedu (Kiri, Press) as Kwame Acheamong.

Further casting includes Aml Ameen (Yardie, Mazerunner), Adam James (Belgravia, Doctor Foster), Sarah Niles (Catastrophe, Rocks) and Ann Akin (Strike: Career Of Evil, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams: The Commuter).

Also starring are Harriet Webb (White Gold, Plebs), Ellie James (Giri/Haji, Strike: Career Of Evil), Franc Ashman (Peep Show, Apple Tree Yard), Karan Gill (Flesh And Blood), Natalie Walter (Horrible Histories, Jonathan Creek) and Samson Ajewole, who makes his television debut.

A synopsis of the series reads: "Set in London, where gratification is only an app away, the story centres on Arabella, a care-free, self-assured Londoner with a group of great friends, a holiday fling-turned aspirational boyfriend in Italy, and a burgeoning writing career. But when she is spiked with a date-rape drug, she must question and rebuild every element of her life."

Michaela Coel said: “We’re incredibly lucky to have pulled together such a talented cast to bring these scripts to life and I look forward to sharing this work with you all next year.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, added: “We’re thrilled to be working with someone as bold and fearless as Michaela, she has created an ultra-contemporary show which explores the issues of her generation with huge compassion, humour and a raw truthfulness. It’s an incredibly urgent story which the BBC are proud to be telling.”

Amy Gravitt, EVP, HBO Programming, commented: “It’s been thrilling to be a part of bringing Michaela’s vision to life. She writes with such intimacy and immediacy about how we treat one another, while always surprising us with moments of levity.”

Phil Clarke, Executive Producer, said: “It’s incredibly exciting to be working with Michaela again. She has a brave and original vision, and something mature and relevant to say about gender politics, about consent, about gratification, about social media, about her generation. It’s an explosive package.”

January 22nd will air over 12, half-hour long episodes.

Filming is currently underway in London with an air date to be confirmed.

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