BBC orders Prisoners' Wives drama

Polly Walker{jcomments off}BBC One has ordered a new drama series about four wives of prisoners who are struggling to cope with their men in prison. The drama will star Polly Walker (pictured right, in Caprica), Pippa Haywood, Natalie Gavin and Emma Rigby.

Tiger Aspect Productions’ new BBC One drama series Prisoners’ Wives tells the story of four very different women, each struggling to cope with a significant man in her life serving time in prison.  Gemma, Francesca, Lou and Harriet are played by a strong and distinguished cast of female leads whose characters will clash and connect over the six episodes.  Written by Julie Gearey, this relationship-based ensemble drama is set and filmed in Sheffield and stars Emma Rigby, Polly Walker, Pippa Haywood and Natalie Gavin, supported by actors including Jonas Armstrong and Iain Glen.

Emma Rigby (Hollyoaks) plays Gemma; she has the perfect life – a perfect house, a perfect husband and a baby on the way. Despite a troubled upbringing, Gemma finally has the security and love she always craved… or so she thinks. Her life comes crashing around her when armed police storm her house and arrest her husband on suspicion of murder. Steve is adamant of his innocence – but should Gemma believe him?

Polly Walker (Rome, State Of Play) plays Francesca; a colourful and glamorous career criminal’s wife. She is happy to turn a blind eye to her husband’s crimes and let him call the shots in exchange for a life of luxury while he’s inside. But when she goes from riches to rags, Francesca is forced to question a marriage that consists of two hours a week in a prison visits hall. Is a relationship worth fighting for when you haven’t been touched in years – or can Francesca find happiness elsewhere?

Pippa Haywood (Green Wing, Brittas Empire) plays Harriet; a respectable middle-aged upstanding member of the local community. She led a quiet and sheltered life until her ‘tough love’ resulted in the imprisonment and estrangement of her only son. She is desperate to connect with him, but how far will she cross the line in order to earn his forgiveness?

Natalie Gavin (The Arbour) is Lou; a devoted mother to 7-year-old Mason. Her boyfriend Sean is serving time on her behalf. Desperate to keep mother and son together, he took the rap for Lou’s drug-dealing on the agreement that she would stop. Trapped in a crime-ridden estate, Lou sees dealing as her way to escape – but if she’s caught, she stands to lose everything.
Prisoners’ Wives is executive produced for Tiger Aspect by Roanna Benn, Rebecca de Souza and Greg Brenman (Tiger’s Head of Drama) and for the BBC by Christopher Aird.

Damon Thomas and Harry Bradbeer direct with Anna Ferguson as producer and Abi Bach as co-producer. The series was commissioned for BBC One by Ben Stephenson and Danny Cohen for transmission in early 2012.