Black Panther’s Letitia Wright and Star Wars’ John Boyega have been cast in new BBC series Small Axe.
Oscar and BAFTA-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen is behind the London-based show, which is an anthology of six hour-long stories set in the 1970s, and filming began on location on Monday.
Joining the glistening cast is Black Mirror’s Malachi Kirby, Lost In Space’s Shaun Parkes, Line Of Duty’s Rochenda Sandall, A Very English Scandal’s Alex Jennings Mary Queen of Scots star Jack Lowden.
‘I felt these stories needed to be shared,’ McQueen said. ‘I wanted to re-live, re-evaluate and investigate the journeys that my parents and the first generation of West Indians went on to deliver me here today calling myself a Black British person.
‘What’s important about our stories is that they are local but at the same time global.
‘I think audiences will identify with the trials, tribulations and joy of our characters as well as reflecting on the present environment in which we find ourselves.’
He continued: ‘The dynamic nature of the series allows us to confront injustice in the face of adversity hence the proverb Small Axe, “if you are the big tree, we are the small axe.”’
Each hour-long episode will explore five stories, with the first told across two installments, and are set within London’s West Indian community from the late 1960s to the early 80s.
The title Small Axe is derived from a Jamaican proverb which has resonance throughout the Caribbean, “if you are the big tree, we are the small axe”.
It’s also the title of a Bob Marley song from his 1973 album Catch a Fire and it means that relatively marginal or small voices of dissent can successfully challenge more powerful voices.
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, enthused: ‘It is an honour to have Steve McQueen, along with this stellar cast, tell these important and inspiring stories on BBC One.
‘Small Axe will air on BBC One next year, and this powerful drama is not to be missed.’