MALORIE Blackman’s award-winning novel, Noughts and Crosses, spoke to readers of all ages as she tackled modern racism issues in a dystopian world where white people – Noughts – were seen as lower class citizens.
And now the book will be brought to life on the small screen, with the BBC creating the world where beloved characters Callum and Sephy exist. Here’s all you need to know…
Noughts and Crosses will air on BBC One later this year[/caption]
What is Noughts and Crosses about?
Set in a parallel 21st century Britain, the book sees black people – Crosses – as the ruling race while white people – Noughts – are the lower class.
Racial segregation is just as rife in this version of Britain, despite the fact white slavery was abolished a number of years ago.
Despite all the challenges facing them, a love story develops between two lifelong friends from opposing races.
As the daughter of the British Home Secretary Kamal Hadley, Sephy is not allowed to get too close to Callum McGregor – the son of her white nanny.
After a series of unfortunate events, the pair part ways and Callum soon ends up mixing with the wrong crowd – a gang they want to use his connection to Sephy for horrific plot.
The book was followed by three more novels so time will tell if the show will do the same.
The series is based on the award-winning book by Malorie Blackman[/caption]
What has author Malorie Blackman said about Noughts and Crosses?
Speaking about the series, Malorie said: “I’m thrilled that the TV dramatisation of Noughts & Crosses has such an amazing cast to bring the story to the screen. It will be so exciting to see how the writers and actors open up the world I created, adding new breadth and detail.”
The 57-year-old published her hugely popular young adult novel in 2001, and a small-screen version has been in the works with the BBC since 2016.
Speaking at London’s Southbank Centre recently, Malorie explained what inspired the book in the first place.
She said: “It was around the time of the Stephen Lawrence case and the way the Lawrence family were treated made me so angry.
“I thought, ‘I want to write about racism. I want to write about slavery and the legacy of slavery and racism and so on.’”
When her family and friends admitted they were unsure whether it was the right subject for her to address, the Pig-Heart Boy author decided to invert the racial power plays that exist today.
She explained: “It was coalescing in my head and the thing that brought it together was the title.
“At the risk of sounding arty, farty, literati, I loved the idea that Noughts and Crosses is that game that nobody plays past childhood because you can’t win at it.
“So what’s the point? To me, it was a metaphor to racism. If one part of society isn’t equal, then no parts of society can be truly equal.”
The story is focused around characters Sephy and Callum – in a world where Africans were the ones who colonised Europeans and remain to dominant race[/caption]
Who is in the Noughts and Crosses cast?
Peaky Blinders star Jack Rowan will play the role of Callum, while rising star Masali Baduza will play Sephy.
Rapper Stormzy will play Kolawale – a new character created for the show who is the Editor-in-Chief, Ohene Standard in one episode of the six-part series.
The rest of the cast includes Paterson Joseph (Johnson from Peep Show) as Sephy’s Father Kamal Haldey and Bonnie Mbuli as Sephy’s mother Jasmine.
Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell from Harry Potter) will play Callum’s dad Ryan McGregor, while Helen Baxendale (Emily from Friends) will play Callum’s mother, Maggie.
Kiki Brimah will star as Sephy’s sister Minerva while Josh Dylan stars are Callum’s older brother Jude.
Other members of the cast include Shaun Dingwall, Jonathan Ajayi and Rakie Ayola.
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When does Noughts and Crosses start on BBC One?
We still don’t have a confirmed start date for the series but it is expected to air as some point in 2019.
Filming for the six-part series began back in 2018 and took place in South Africa
While we don’t know the time know each episode will be an hour-long.
A trailer for the series is still yet to premiere but hopefully fans will get to see something soon.