BBC shares first look at second series of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts + Crosses

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  • Masali Baduza
    South African actress

The BBC has shared a first look at some of its drama highlights for next year, including Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends and the return of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts + Crosses.

Jack Rowan and Masali Baduza will reprise their roles for the return of the adaptation of Blackman’s bestselling novels.

The duo play Callum and Sephy, who are desperately attempting to flee Albion in search of a new life together, while the city reels in the wake of Sephy’s “kidnap”.

Jack Rowan and Masali Baduza (Ilze Kitshoff/Mammoth Screen/BBC/PA)
Jack Rowan and Masali Baduza (Ilze Kitshoff/Mammoth Screen/BBC/PA)

The books are set in a society divided by racism, in which Sephy is a Cross, a member of the dark-skinned ruling class, and Callum is a nought, a “colourless” member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses.

Paterson Joseph, Helen Baxendale, Bonnie Mbuli, Jonathan Ajayi, Josh Dylan and Kike Brimah all reprise their roles from the first series, while Top Boy actress Jasmine Jobson will join the cast as Cara, and Endeavour’s Robert Hands will play Clem.

The BBC also shared a first look at Alison Oliver as Frances in Conversations With Friends.

Alison Oliver as Frances in Conversations With Friends (BBC/Element Pictures/Hulu/Enda Bowe/PA)
Alison Oliver as Frances in Conversations With Friends (BBC/Element Pictures/Hulu/Enda Bowe/PA)

She will star opposite Joe Alwyn as Nick in the adaptation of Rooney’s novel, being made by the producers of Normal People, the hit series based on another of Rooney’s books.

She series follows a 21-year-old student as she navigates a series of relationships.

American Honey star Sasha Lane will play her best friend Bobbi, while Girls actress Jemima Kirke will play Melissa, an older writer who becomes fascinated by the pair.

There is also a first look at Thomasin McKenzie in Life After Life, an adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s bestselling novel.

Thomasin McKenzie as Ursula in Life After Life (BBC/House Productions/Nick Wall/PA)
Thomasin McKenzie as Ursula in Life After Life (BBC/House Productions/Nick Wall/PA)

The New Zealand actress will play Ursula Todd, who is born to Sylvie and Hugh (Sian Clifford and James McArdle) one night in 1910, but dies before she draws her first breath.

On that same night, Ursula is reborn and survives, and time and time again she is born, lives and dies in different circumstances.

The show follows Ursula as she navigates each new life, through an era which spans two world wars, an encounter with Hitler and major life events.

Piers Wenger, director of BBC Drama, said: “As the pandemic continues to dominate our lives and shape our experiences, I am more aware than ever that drama can bring a little joy, a little relief and a little escapism to people’s lives.

“The need to listen to and to tell stories has been with us for millennia which is why we are delighted to be offering audiences more drama on the BBC next year than ever before.”

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