Sidse Babett Knudsen and Joanna Scanlan will join Sarah Lancashire in Channel 4’s new drama, The Light.
The four-part series, written by Jack Thorne, was commissioned last year and completes Thorne’s trilogy (after National Treasure and Kiri) of timely dramas for the broadcaster. With Kiri Channel 4’s most-watched drama since modern records began, it’s perhaps no surprise that the broadcaster has reteamed with Sarah Lancashire for the new series, and it’s certainly no surprise that it has attracted an equally impressive supporting cast.
The Light is set in the fictional town of Glyngolau and explores a forgotten community devastated by disaster. An explosion on the construction site of a much-needed and sought-after regeneration project in this “left-behind” town claims the lives of many children who have broken into the building site to make mischief. As grief gives way to anger the community finds itself forced to confront difficult truths amid the search for justice.
Lancashire plays Polly Bevan, the wife of the local politician who championed the project and the person to whom the community turns following the disaster. Councillor Iwan Bevan, her husband, played by Mark Lewis Jones (National Treasure, Keeping Faith), loves his home town and is a respected figurehead for the community. He was passionate about restoring the town to its former glory, but at what cost…?
Behind closed doors Iwan and Polly’s relationship is more complicated than outward appearances suggest, made even more so by the fact that their rebellious teenage daughter Leona, played by newcomer Jade Croot (Casualty), does all she can to aggravate her father. But when Leona suffers life-changing injuries as a result of the accident on her father’s site, the family finds itself tested to the limits.
BAFTA-winner and Emmy-nominee Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen, Westworld) plays Harriet Paulsen, the executive at Kallbridge Developments which has overseen the project in Glyngolau. On hearing the news of the disaster, Harriet immediately heads to the site but finds herself the focus of raw grief and anger. She’s tough with a ruthless streak but her desire for self-preservation and to protect the business she’s helped build comes into sharp conflict with her compulsion to do the right thing. Her Executive Assistant at Kallbridge is Tim, played by Nabhaan Rizwan (Informer, 1917). Tim is smart and eager, but his good sense may be clouded by his desire to protect Harriet at all costs.
While the search for the truth behind these events unfolds, the community seeks strength in each other. Polly relies on her oldest friends, like her, born and raised in Glyngolau. Angela Griffiths is played by BAFTA-nominated and RTS-winner Joanna Scanlan (No Offence, Getting On) and single parent Greta is played by BAFTA Cymru Award-winner Eiry Thomas (Keeping Faith, Rillington Place). Both have lost daughters in the accident. The women’s grief begins to turn to fury and a demand for action and justice. Who is to blame?
Filming is currently underway on location in Wales.
The Light: Channel 4 commissions new Jack Thorne series
22nd August 2018
BAFTA-winning writer Jack Thorne will return to Channel 4 for a new series, The Light (working title).
After National Treasure and Kiri, it marks the third in his trilogy of compelling, penetrating and timely 4-part dramas for the broadcaster. Both previous dramas were hugely successful. Consolidated viewing figures make Kiri Channel 4’s most-watched drama since modern records began, with an average of nearly 5 million viewers and an audience share of 18.7%. It is also the biggest ever drama series on All 4. National Treasure averaged 3.7 million viewers across the series, more than doubling the slot average. The series also won 3 BAFTA awards, including Best Mini-Series and Best Director, and 2 RTS Awards for Best Mini-Series and Best Actor.
The Light will look at disability and focus on the repercussions of a catastrophic disaster that befalls a community in a small Welsh town which has seen more prosperous times. The disaster claims the lives of many, children included and, as personal and communal grief gives way to a torrent of anger and blame, the community finds itself torn apart.
The series will explore the complex web of decisions and circumstances, both political and personal, that led to the fatal event. The community feels powerless in the face of seemingly inexorable political and business forces but the drama asks to what extent they are complicit in their own fate.
Like Kiri and National Treasure, the drama will look at how the media spotlight in the wake of such a disaster can affect a community. And if National Treasure was about shame and Kiri was about blame, The Light will be about justice.
Beth Willis, Head of Drama at Channel 4, says: “We are delighted to be working once more with the immensely talented Jack Thorne. Jack has a singular ability to explore some of the most complex and challenging topics facing modern Britain today with warmth and empathy, and also with sharp insight and fearless scrutiny. The Light (w/t) promises to be another powerful examination of guilt, blame, responsibility and culpability.”
Thorne says: “I cannot believe Channel 4 has afforded us this opportunity. At the beginning of National Treasure we started talking about the possibilities of a trilogy which peeked behind the curtains of this country and tried to ask difficult questions about who we are and how the media paints us. I am so delighted we are going to get to finish that trilogy off. I’ve loved working with Beth, Channel 4 and The Forge on this.”