Amazon Boards ’12 Years A Slave’ Director Steve McQueen’s Forthcoming BBC West Indian Drama ‘Small Axe’

Amazon has boarded the forthcoming BBC drama from 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen.

The revelation emerged as Georgia Brown, Director of European Originals at the SVOD service, was speaking at the House of Lords’ Communications Committee debate on the future of public service broadcasting in the UK. She also revealed it’s called Small Axe.

It’s not clear which territories are covered by Amazon’s pact for the six-part series but former Fremantle exec Brown revealed that Amazon was co-producing the long-in-the-works project, with the official commission coming from the BBC in August 2015. She added that it was “coming imminently.”

The show, which is being produced by The Frankenstein Chronicles producer Rainmark Films, is a look at the lives of a group of friends and their families living in West London from 1968 to 2014. The Oscar-winning writer and director has said that the series will tell the story of a West Indian community in the heart of London across three decades, beginning at the moment of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968.

It starts in 1968, when a small restaurant called The Mangrove opens in Ladbroke Grove, a place of camaraderie and friendship that becomes a social heart for the community – and, over time, a flashpoint for resistance.

Tracey Scoffield exec produces with David Tanner producing. It was commissioned by BBC content chief Charlotte Moore and former BBC drama boss Polly Hill.

McQueen said back in 2015, “These stories are passionate, personal and unique. They are testimony to the truth of real lives and urgently need to be told. This is about a legacy which has not only made my life as an artist possible, but also has shaped the Britain that we live in today.”

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