London, New York – Wednesday 28th June 2017: All-new drama The Split begins production in the UK next week with Nicola Walker (River, Last Tango in Halifax) leading the acclaimed ensemble cast alongside Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me), Stephen Mangan (Episodes), Fiona Button (Lip Service), Deborah Findlay (Leaving), Annabel Scholey (Being Human), Barry Atsma (Hector and the Search for Happiness) and Stephen Tompkinson (DCI Banks). The original drama, with a female-led cast and crew, is from BAFTA and Primetime Emmy award-winning writer Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Iron Lady, The Hour) and BAFTA-winning Executive Producer Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, Humans, River). The six-part series is the first new original production from Featherstone’s indie Sister Pictures for BBC One, co-produced with SundanceTV, and is directed by Jessica Hobbs (Broadchurch, Apple Tree Yard, The Slap) and produced by Lucy Dyke (Black Mirror, Ripper Street). It shoots on location in London.
The Split is an authentic, layered and witty exploration of modern marriage and the legacy of divorce through the lens of the Defoe’s – a family of female lawyers at the heart of London’s fast-paced and emotionally-charged divorce circuit.
Esteemed divorce lawyer Hannah (Nicola Walker) quits the family firm when her mother Ruth (Deborah Findlay), formidable personally and professionally, refuses her promotion. Landing at a rival firm alongside old flame Christie (Barry Atsma), Hannah navigates scandalous affairs, big-figure settlements and fraught relationship battles – coming head-to-head with Ruth and impulsive sister Nina (Annabel Scholey) in the bitter divorce of Goldie (Meera Syal) and multi-millionaire husband Davey (Stephen Tompkinson). Meanwhile, the marriage of younger sister Rose (Fiona Button) looms on the horizon.
When their estranged father returns after 30 years the sisters are forced to confront their past. Facing the reality of her dad’s abandonment, and reconnecting with ‘the one who got away’ Christie, Hannah begins to question her relationships with the men in her life – including her seemingly contented marriage to the smart and affable Nathan (Stephen Mangan).
On being cast as Hannah Defoe, Nicola Walker says, “I'm delighted to be joining the Defoe family and walking in Hannah's shoes as she picks her way through other people's marriages and relationships, all the while questioning her own.”
Created and written by Abi Morgan, The Split is produced by Sister Pictures for BBC One, co-produced with SundanceTV, and was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. The series is executive produced by Sister Pictures Founder Jane Featherstone (Broadchurch, Humans, River), creator Abi Morgan (River, Suffragette, The Hour), director Jessica Hobbs (Broadchurch, Apple Tree Yard, The Slap) and Lucy Richer for the BBC, with Lucy Dyke (Black Mirror, Ripper Street) producing.
BBC Worldwide is handling international distribution.
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Since its launch in 1996, SundanceTV has remained true to founder Robert Redford’s mission to celebrate creativity and distinctive storytelling through unique voices and narratives found in the best independent films. From delivering critically acclaimed Emmy®, Golden Globe® and Peabody Award-winning television featuring some of the world's most talented creators and performers, to showcasing some of the most compelling and iconic films across genres and generations, SundanceTV is a smart and thought-provoking entertainment destination. SundanceTV is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.; its sister networks include AMC, IFC, BBC America and WE tv. SundanceTV is available across all platforms, including on-air, online at http://www.sundance.tv/, on demand and mobile.
Sister Pictures is an independent production company, founded by Jane Featherstone in November 2015, to develop authored, bold and distinctive stories for UK and international audiences. Jane has executive produced some of the UK’s most groundbreaking television including Spooks, The Hour, Utopia and Life on Mars. Sister’s current projects include The Split by Abi Morgan for BBC 1, Clean Break, starring Sheridan Smith for ITV 1, The Power by award-winning writer Naomi Alderman, and The Bisexual, created by and starring Desiree Akhavan for Channel 4, which will be executive produced by Sister Exec Naomi de Pear, through her in-house label Hootenanny. Sister Pictures is co-producer of hit comedy Flowers for Channel 4, and acclaimed drama Broadchurch for ITV, which concluded with the highest drama ratings in five years. Daniel Isaacs is the company’s Chief Operating Officer, working alongside Head of Development Katie Carpenter and Executive Producers Naomi de Pear and Chris Fry in the company’s Clerkenwell office.