Fans of Andrea Levy’s epic and award-winning novel The Long Song will be thrilled to hear that it is being turned into a three-part BBC adaptation that will explore the dying days of slavery in Jamaica.
Andrea Levy, says: “I am particularly happy to have my novel, The Long Song, adapted by Heyday and the BBC. This untold story from Britain’s complex past in the Caribbean will be a period drama like no other.”
Written by Sarah Williams who also scripted Levy’s Small Island (which starred Naomie Harris, David Oyelowo and Benedict Cumberbatch among others), and produced by Heyday Television (Harry Potter, Gravity, Paddington).
“I’m thrilled to be adapting Andrea’s powerful novel. It’s a cracking good story told from a female point of view and also serves as a tribute to the wit, ingenuity and resilience of generations of British slaves in Jamaica.”
Three hundred years of slavery finally came to a chaotic end on the British-ruled Caribbean island in 1838. It is a shameful and rarely-acknowledged part of British colonial history. And though Abolition may have been the first step on the road to racial equality, it is a very long road and one upon which we still travel today.
But far from being a harrowing tale of violence and misery that one might expect from such a history, The Long Song is in fact a story of hope, passion and determination, full of insight and humour.
The novel follows a strong-willed young female slave (July) on a Jamaican plantation in the 19th century. She is a natural survivor, who begins her story as a slave, but ends it as the mother of a gentleman. Told from July’s perspective as she looks back over her life, the tone is funny, defiant and indomitable.
Above all, it’s a powerful story about love and survival, with vivid set pieces of social unrest and turmoil, and characters who change and develop in unpredictable ways. It’s also a story about the injustices which humans inflict upon each other, and the unexpected ways in which people’s humanity sometimes overrules their prejudices.
We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see it.
Further details will be announced in due course.