Amazon has boarded The Last Post, BBC’s new drama from Peter Moffat.
Set in the mid-60s in the shimmering heat of Aden (Yemen), the six-part drama centres on a unit of Royal Military Police officers and their families. Their job is two-fold: half soldiers and half policemen who face constant insurgency and threat. Danger is everywhere. Hand grenades, mines and sniper attacks are a constant threat.
But life and love must continue. The 60s are starting to swing: sexual liberation, polka dot bikinis, new music and prized copies of Vogue have reached the sun loungers of the glamorous BP Club. Dashing, newlywed RMP Captain Joe Martin (newcomer Jeremy Neumark-Jones) and his wife, Honor (War and Peace’s Jessie Buckley), arrive dressed like JFK and Jackie, full of excitement and ambition about the start of married life. A big new adventure. But how well does Honor know the man she’s just married?
Alongside the duo are a cast that includes Amanda Drew (Broadchurch), Ben Miles (Coupling, RSC’s Wolf Hall), Stephen Campbell Moore (History Boys, The Go-Between) and Jessica Raine (Call The Midwife).
Rain plays the feisty Alison (Raine), a direct, funny woman ahead of her time, who feels cooped up and claustrophobic and ready to lead Honor gloriously astray. Alison’s husband, Lieutenant Ed Laithwaite (Campbell Moore), is a progressive soldier, a deep thinker. The army doesn’t like this about him. Somewhere down the line, Ed and Alison seem to have lost each other. Gin, red lipstick and other men give Alison what she feels she needs now. Can these two outsiders find each other again?
As the insurgency takes a real hold and casualties mount, and the old established order of the 50s comes apart, who will survive and who will flounder?
The drama is based on Moffat’s childhood memories of his father’s life as an officer in the Royal Military Police and his mother’s struggle between being what the army required her to be and what she felt like being.
Moffat says: “Young married couples in the heart of the Sixties living in extremely close proximity in a very alien and dangerous environment has always struck me as ripe territory for drama. Men full of vim, vigor and a desire to be heroes in a situation where that isn’t always possible; alongside young women who are starting to feel the emancipation of the Sixties and a sense of new freedoms but who are living in a constrained setting where their role is supposed to be merely supportive. My mum remembers standing on the balcony of our flat in her first week in Aden and seeing a hand grenade thrown killing a five year old boy and my dad rushing out to try and do something.
“Throw in rock’n’roll and tumultuous love stories alongside the unexplored territory of this period in our history and you have a pretty heady mix. This was my parent’s world and one I have wanted to write about all my career.”
The Last Post is produced by Bonafide Films and The Forge Entertainment for BBC One and is executive produced for Bonafide Films by Margery Bone & Elwen Rowlands, and by George Faber & Mark Pybus for The Forge Entertainment. Matthew Read is an executive producer for BBC One. The series is directed by Jonny Campbell (The Casual Vacancy) and Miranda Bowen (Women In Love), with filming starting last year in South Africa.
Now, Amazon has boarded the project, snapping up the US rights to distribute it as an Amazon Original. It marks the latest in a string of deals and co-productions between the BBC and US broadcasters or streaming services, from The Night Manager (AMC) to Troy (Netflix). Amazon has previously acquired the rights to BBC Three’s BAFTA-winning comedy, Fleabag.