The Trailer for 'The Doll Factory' Is Dark and Foreboding

Esmé Creed-Miles and Mirren Mack in "The Doll Factory"

Esmé Creed-Miles and Mirren Mack in "The Doll Factory"

(Photo: Buccaneer TV/Paramount Global) 

The British entertainment landscape is full of period dramas, crime series, and psychological thrillers. But rarely do we get to see something that combines all three. But that certainly sounds like what we'll be getting in the upcoming Paramount+ U.K. Original The Doll Factory, which weaves a tale of obsession, desire, and art in Victorian England. Based on the bestselling debut novel of the same name by Elizabeth Macneal it follows the story of a quartet of characters whose lives all become increasingly intertwined as London's Great Exhibition of 1851 looms. 

Twin sisters Iris and Rose make a living painting mourning dolls, figures that were most often modeled after an infant or young child who had passed away. In Victorian times, death was an all too common part of daily life, and these often startlingly realistic recreations of the deceased were meant to be incorporated into the grieving process of families who had lost children. (And who could afford the expense of having them made.) Iris, for her part, longs to become an artist in her own right --- or at least to paint something other than replicas of strangers' dead children. So she spends her nights painting herself in the nude in an attempt to hone her skills. 

When Iris is presented with a chance to escape and start a new life, she'll have to abandon her sister, sacrifice her reputation, and embrace the unknown. Her journey of self-discovery will see her challenging societal norms, exploring her sexuality, and beginning to realize her dreams. But as her worlds expand, a dangerous story of obsession begins to unfold. 

Esmé Creed-Miles and Éanna Hardwicke in "The Doll Factory"

Esmé Creed-Miles and Éanna Hardwicke in "The Doll Factory"

(Photo: Paramount+)

 Esmé Creed-Miles (Hanna) plays Iris alongside Mirren Mack (Sex Education) as her sister, Rose. Éanna Hardwicke (The Sixth Commandment) also stars as Silas, a taxidermist known for his shop full of incredible creations who dreams of finding an item so unique it will bring him the fame he longs for. And George Webster (Wedding Season) is Louis Frost, a painter from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in search of a muse.

“It might sound like a cliché, but to have my novel turned into a TV series is a dream come true," Macneal said in a statement. "It has been an extraordinary process to see ideas that once existed only in my head, coming to life on set and now on screen. Each scene has been perfectly rendered - from the artist Louis Frost’s lavish painting studio, to the doll shop where twins Iris and Rose paint the faces of china dolls. Buccaneer has been a joy to work with, and Charley Miles’s script excited me from the very first page. I can’t wait to share this story with viewers!”

The series' ensemble cast also includes Sharlene Whyte (Sanditon), Pippa Haywood (Magpie Murders), Freddy Carter (Shadow and Bone), Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Derry Girls), Reece Kenwyne-Mpudzi (The Man Who Fell to Earth), Jim Caesar (Grantchester), Akshay Khanna (Red, White & Royal Blue), Aysha Kala (The Undeclared War), Nell Hudson (Victoria), and newcomer Reece Kenwyne-Mpudzi.


Here's the series' description. 

The Doll Factory is a brand new UK original period thriller adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name. The series follows the life of Iris, who paints dolls for a living alongside her twin sister. Iris then meets two men, Silas and Louis, where their lives become intertwined. As the series unfolds, dark, chilling truths are exposed. The Doll Factory stars Esmé Creed-Miles (Hanna), Mirren Mack (Sex Education) , Eanna Hardwicke (Normal People) and Saorise-Monica Jackson (Derry Girls).

The series hails from independent production company Buccaneer Media, which is best known for series like Marcella and Whitstable Pearl. Rising British screenwriter Charley Miles adapted the series for television, with Sacha Polak (Dirty God) and Cathy Brady (Wildfire) directing. Tony Wood, Anna Burns, and Richard Tulk-Hart are executive producers for Buccaneer, alongside Miles. Suzanne McAuley (Magpie Murders) is the series producer and Julie Harkin (Becoming Elizabeth) is the casting director. 

“We are so excited for viewers to enter the world of The Doll Factory,"  Burns said in a statement. "We couldn’t be more proud of what our incredible creative team – led by Charley Miles, Sacha Polak & Cathy Brady – have created, and of our phenomenally talented cast."

The Doll Factory is the latest UK drama commission for Paramount+ and joins a growing slate from the U.K. production community which includes A Gentleman in Moscow, Sexy Beast, The Blue, The Ex-Wife, The Burning Girls, and Flatshare.

The Doll Factory will premiere in the U.K. this November on Paramount+. It does not yet have an American distributor, but Cineflix Rights will be distributing the series internationally. 

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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