BBC Drama Commissions 11 Series, Throwing "Peak Caution" to the Wind

The key art of the English flag from the National Theater Live streaming of 'Dear England'

Dear England key art

National Theater Live

It was only a few weeks ago that the head of BBC Comedy, Jon Petrie, announced it was commissioning six series for 2024, the same number as it had the year before. It was a cautious group of series as well; half of the shows involved were renewals for second, third, and even fifth seasons. Compare that to Lindsay Salt, the head of BBC drama, who came out roaring this week with a slate of a dozen commissions, only one of which was a renewal. As she put it, “While others might become more cautious, we will go further and take the risks others won’t.”

“I worry that risk-taking is becoming a dirty word," Salt told the roomful of assembled guests at the event for the unveiling of the eleven brand new drama series, most of which are coming directly from BBC Studios with no co-producers out of America to help bear the costs. "In less than a decade, the industry might be moving from Peak TV to Peak Caution. But not the BBC... there’s something about this moment, the current climate in our industry, that makes our approach to risk even more essential," Salt declared. “Over the next few years, I want the BBC to redefine ‘state of the nation’ drama."

Salt cited I May Destroy You, which aired on HBO in the States and made a big splash on both sides of the pond, and This is Going to Hurt, which was sadly lost on AMC+ and Sundance Now over here, as examples of the sort of shows she meant by this. Other, lesser-known-to-Americans-audiences shows she cited included State of Play, Three Girls, and Our Friends in the North.

The Ministry of Time Cover Art

The Ministry of Time Cover Art

Simon & Schuster

Here’s the rundown of shows with their current titles and loglines:

  1. Dear England: Drama series adaptation of James Graham’s play; Joseph Fiennes reprises his role as England soccer manager Gareth Southgate.
  2. The Ministry of Time: Based on the Kaliane Bradley novel, adapted by Alice Birch, a newly-established department gathers “expats” from history in a time travel experiment.
  3. The Dream Lands: Based on Rosa Rankin-Gee’s Dreamland, adapted by Kayleigh Llewellyn, a coming-of-age Margate-set story.
  4. The Listeners: Rebecca Hall-starrer about a teacher who begins to hear a low humming sound that no one else can hear.
  5. Reunion: From deaf scribe William Mager about someone unable to fully integrate into the hearing world and shunned by the deaf community.
  6. Film Club: Actor Aimee Lou Wood (Sex Education) writing debut about two film nerds in love without realizing it.
  7. Mint: Darkly comic drama about three generations from Scrapper director Charlotte Regan.
  8. This City is Ours: Liverpool-set romance from The Crown producer Left Bank.
  9. Here We Go Again: Dramedy about three stubbornly optimistic siblings with a dark secret from Janice Okoh (Sanditon).
  10. The Split Up: Spin-off of Abi Morgan’s The Split, following a family of divorce lawyers in Manchester.
  11. Lions (working title): Series starring Richard Gadd (Code 404), where his estranged brother’s appearance at his wedding leads to violence and flashbacks through four decades.

None of these shows have American distributors as yet, but that will almost certainly change in the coming weeks as filming gets off the ground. Most of these series are expected out by the end of 2024 or early 2025.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

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