As part of their presentation to the Television Critics Association during their biannual winter press tour in Pasadena, Disney+ has announced that its fantasy adventure series Renegade Nell will officially arrive on the streamer this March.
The series, originally called The Ballad of Renegade Nell before it shortened its name, hails from BAFTA winner Sally Wainwright, the mind behind such popular, critically acclaimed dramas as Happy Valley and Gentleman Jack. The historical drama follows the story of the titular Nell, a quick-witted and courageous young woman who finds herself framed for murder and unexpectedly becomes the most notorious highwayman (or highwaywoman, in this instance) in 18th-century England. But when she meets a magical spirit called Billy Blind, Nell realizes her destiny may be bigger than she ever imagined.
Derry Girls' Louisa Harland stars as the titular Nell, alongside newcomers Bo Bragason (The Radleys) and Florence Keen (The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) as her two younger sisters, Roxy and George. They're joined by Ted Lasso favorite Nick Mohammed, who plays the "plucky but prickly" Billy Blind, as they all join forces to help Nell when she finds herself on the wrong side of the law. (Fair warning: There are fairy wings involved, and you can decide how you feel about that bit of the story.)
The first season of the swashbuckling series is comprised of eight episodes. With each clocking in at just 45 minutes and boasting a colorful, youthful vibe, it seems this series is targeted at a younger audience than traditionally tends to tune in to historical dramas like this. (To be honest, it feels very similar in tone to Hulu's The Artful Dodger.)
Here’s the series’ logline.
Nell Jackson, a quick-witted and courageous young woman, finds herself framed for murder and unexpectedly becomes the most notorious outlaw in 18th-century England. But when a magical spirit called Billy Blind appears, Nell realizes her destiny is bigger than she ever imagined.
The series’ ensemble cast includes Frank Dillane (The Essex Serpent) as Nell’s fickle friend and sometimes adversary Charles Devereux; Adrian Lester (Trigger Point) as the Earl of Poynton; Alice Kremelber (The Sinner) as Sofia Wilmont; Joely Richardson (The Sandman) as eccentric newspaper magnate Lady Eularia Moggerhanger; Pip Torrens (Poldark) as Sofia’s father, Lord Blancheford; Ényì Okoronkwo (The Lazarus Project) as stable boy Rasselas, and Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty) as Nell’s kindhearted father, Sam.
Pip Torrens (Poldark) appears as Lord Blancheford, the father of Sofia and her feckless, bullying brother Thomas, who is played by Jake Dunn (Half Bad). Ényì Okoronkwo (The Lazarus Project) also stars as Rasselas, a spirited stable boy who joins Nell and her sisters on the run in his own bid for freedom, and Craig Parkinson (Line of Duty) is Nell’s kindhearted father, Sam.
Renegade Nell is written and created by Wainwright in her first new project since Happy Valley concluded earlier this year and the period drama Gentleman Jack was canceled after two seasons by HBO. The show is directed by Ben Taylor (Sex Education), with Amanda Brotchie (Gentleman Jack) and MJ Delaney (Ted Lasso) also helming episodes. Lookout Point produces the series; Executive Producers are Wainwright, Taylor, Faith Penhale, Will Johnston, and Louise Mutter for Lookout Point, and Johanna Devereaux for Disney+; Jon Jennings is series producer, and Stella Merz is producer.
Renegade Nell will premiere all episodes on March 29, 2024, exclusively on Disney+.