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Female punk band show by Happy Valley’s Sally Wainwright coming to BBC

A new series from Happy Valley creator Sally Wainwright will see a “celebration of women of a certain age” as they form a punk rock band.

Screenwriter Wainwright, 60, ended her BBC crime drama about no-nonsense West Yorkshire police sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) earlier this year to critical acclaim after three series.

Her recently commissioned BBC drama, Hot Flush, was announced on Thursday along with three other new shows from the broadcaster as the Edinburgh TV festival entered its second day.

Gentleman Jack
Gemma Whelan (left), Sally Wainwright and Suranne Jones (right) arrive for the screening of Gentleman Jack (Danny Lawson/PA)

The series follows five women coping with work, grown-up children, dependent parents, husbands and the menopause.

Set in Hebden Bridge, where much of Happy Valley was filmed, the six-part series will follow the women as they create a band in order to enter a talent contest.

Wainwright, also known for Gentleman Jack and Last Tango In Halifax, said: “I’ve been wanting to write a series like this for a long time. It’s a celebration of women of a certain age, and all the life stuff they suddenly find themselves negotiating/dealing with.

“The show is also my own personal homage to (musical drama) Rock Follies Of ’77, and the feisty (band from the show) Little Ladies who woke me up to what I wanted to do with my life when I was 13.”

Executive producer Roanna Benn, from Drama Republic, described the show as “about the women who hold up modern Britain, their stories urgently need to be told, and who better than Sally Wainwright to do that”.

Also coming to the BBC is a four-part thriller about a Lancashire rookie detective, played by Victoria star Jenna Coleman, who looks into a podcast journalist investigating missing people, a fire at a holiday home and a man having a relationship with underage girls.

The Jetty creator and writer Cat Jones, who has worked on EastEnders and Harlots, said: “What feels like a total dream team continues to grow with the addition of Marialy Rivas to direct and the brilliant Jenna Coleman.

“I’ve no doubt audiences are going to be completely transfixed by her as (detective) Ember (Manning).”

The Witcher season 3 UK premiere – London
Liz Carr, who is also known for The Witcher (Ian West/PA)

Also among the BBC commissions is a new detective series, based on AA Dhand’s Bradford-based crime novels and starring The Great actor Sacha Dhawan, called Virdee.

A six-part mystery thriller about a self-made businesswoman from the writer of Bafta-winning Mood, Nicole Lecky, was also announced as an untitled series.

Aside from the news shows, disability rights activist and Silent Witness star Liz Carr, who has previously spoken of her concerns about assisted dying will explore the issue in new documentary Better Off Dead?

Carr, also known for The Witcher and This Is Going To Hurt, said: “I’m pro-choice, an atheist, a rights campaigner and assisted suicide scares me.

“I want everyone to have a good death and through this documentary, I hope to show why I’m unconvinced that any type of ‘assisted dying’ is the answer to this.”

Comedy thriller Black Ops, created by Bafta-winning actor and writer Gbemisola Ikumelo, has also been recommissioned for a second series.