Small Island, New Drama Coming To BBC One

Adapted from Andrea Levy’s best-selling award-winning novel, BBC One’s two-part drama Small Island is an epic love story about the determined pursuit of dreams in the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers.


Set against the backdrop of the Second World War in a time when landlords would put up signs that read “No Irish, no coloureds, no dogs”, Small Island follows the interlocking lives of Londoner Queenie (Ruth Wilson), the young Jamaican couple who become her lodgers, Gilbert and Hortense (David Oyelowo and Naomie Harris), Queenie’s husband Bernard (Benedict Cumberbatch) and the mysterious and handsome Michael (Ashley Walters).


From the heat and hustle of life in Forties Jamaica through to the devastation of London in the Blitz, Small Island is an ambitious yet personal tale, which deftly touches on the weighty themes of empire, prejudice and war with a gentle touch and a warm, uplifting generosity of spirit.


Small Island is written by Paula Milne (The Virgin Queen) and Sarah Williams (Becoming Jane, The Secret Life Of Mrs Beeton) and directed by John Alexander (Life On Mars, Survivors). Executive producers for Small Island are Alison Owen (Elizabeth, Proof, The Other Boleyn Girl), Paul Trijbits and Paula Milne.


The producers are Joanna Anderson, Vicky Licorish and Grainne Marmion. The executive producer for the BBC is Lucy Richer, Commissioning Editor, Independent Drama Commissioning.


Small Island is a Ruby Television production in association with AL Films for BBC One, co-produced with WGBH and made on location in Northern Ireland with the assistance of Northern Ireland Screen.


The key cast includes:
Naomie Harris – Hortense
David Oyelowo – Gilbert
Ruth Wilson – Queenie
Benedict Cumberbatch – Bernard
Ashley Walters – Michael
Hugh Quarshie – Narrator
Karl Johnson – Arthur
Nikki Amuka-Bird – Celia
Shaun Parkes – Winston
Denise Black – Auntie Dorothy