Olivia Colman, Alison Steadman star in new drama strand ‘The Secrets’

‘The Secrets’ confirms new writers, stellar cast and director

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Sarah Solemani amongst new writing talent

BBC One has commissioned five new drama talent strand films titled, The Secrets made by Working Title Television and directed by BAFTA-winning writer and director Dominic Savage (True Love, Freefall).

Each film is an explosive story with a secret at the heart of it and will be written by upcoming writers, Elinor Cook, Nick Payne – who will write two episodes, Ben Ockrent and Him and Her actress, Sarah Solemani.

Dominic Savage says: “I am delighted to be part of this new strand which really illustrates what the BBC stands for. Working with new and talented writers along with the best actors the UK has to offer is a real privilege and I can’t wait to get started.”

Episode one by Elinor Cook

Winner of the George Devine Award 2013 for Most Promising Playwright, Elinor recently collaborated on a play with Joe Ward Munrow, and last year was part of Paines Plough’s The Big Room in association with Channel 4.

Elinor Cook’s episode tells the story of a man who is married to two women, and, living a secret double life between them, is exposed. It explores whether monogamy is ever a realistic proposition.

Episode two by Nick Payne

Nick Payne’s play Constellations directed by Michael Longhurst and starring Rafe Spall and Sally Hawkins, was nominated in 2012 for the Olivier Award for Best New Play. His first episode, starring Olivia Colman (The 7.39, Exile, Broadchurch), Alison Steadman (The Syndicate, Gavin & Stacey) and Steve Oram (Sightseers), tells the story of a vet expecting her first child, who has all the chemicals to put pets to sleep, and a mother who is chronically ill and wanting to die.

Episode three by Ben Ockrent

Ben’s first play, The Pleasure Principle, was staged at the Tristan Bates Theatre in October 2007. He has also penned episodes of Waterloo Road and E4’s Youngers.

A girl turns up out of the blue claiming to be an unknown sister to a boy, but things are not quite what they seem.

Episode four by Nick Payne

In Nick Payne’s second episode, a police officer is having an affair with his brother’s wife. When the brother returns from a period away the betrayal leads to an unlikely confrontation.

Episode five by Sarah Solemani

Best known for her role as Rosie Gulliver in BBC Three comedy Bad Education, Sarah’s writing talents span theatre, TV, film and radio, including plays that have been showcased at the Old Vic and Soho Theatre.

Episode five joins a bride on the eve of her wedding when she discovers her fiancé was once accused of a shocking crime.

Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One, adds: “It’s great to welcome back Dominic Savage to BBC One, who will direct all five films which provide a unique opportunity to work with four of Britain’s best upcoming writers fresh to television drama.”

Juliette Howell, Head of Television, Working Title Television says: “The ambition of the strand is to find these new voices and bring their talent to the wider BBC One audience. Dominic and I have worked together a lot over the years and its exciting to marry his distinctive creative process with this extremely talented group of writers who we believe have a strong future writing for television.”.

Executive producers are Juliette Howell for Working Title Television and Lucy Richer for the BBC.

The Secrets will shoot from Thursday 23 January in London for five weeks and transmit on BBC One later this year.