The BBC have what is going to be a much anticipated new series from the always superb Stephen Poliakoff. Close to the Enemy, a six parter, has just begun filming for broadcast on BBC Two in 2016.
Close To The Enemy is produced by Little Island Productions in association with Endor Productions and is mainly set in a bomb-damaged London hotel in the aftermath of the Second World War.
Jim Sturgess (One Day) heads a stellar cast including Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Charlotte Riley (Peaky Blinders and forthcoming Heart of the seas), Phoebe Fox (Woman in Black 2), August Diehl (Inglourious Basterds), Robert Glenister (Hustle), Alfie Allen (Game Of Thrones), Charity Wakefield (Wolf Hall), the legendary Angela Bassett (American Horror Story and the forthcoming London Has Fallen), Lindsay Duncan (Birdman and Alice In Wonderland), and Alfred Molina (Love Is Strange).
Kim Shillinglaw says: “Stephen Poliakoff is one of the country’s foremost writers and directors and I’m delighted he is creating this distinctive new piece for us. I want BBC Two to be the place where creatives can come and do their best, most signature work and it’s great to have this new work alongside our other remarkable dramas.”
Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “With Stephen’s usual flair and attention to detail, Close To The Enemy is a hugely compelling drama which shines a light on a fascinating piece of British history. An amazing cast, wonderful design and original music will create an unmissable new period drama for BBC Two.”
Close To The Enemy follows intelligence officer Captain Callum Ferguson (Sturgess), whose last task for the Army is to ensure that a captured German scientist, Dieter (Diehl), starts working for the British RAF on urgently developing the jet engine. With the background of the emerging Cold War, it is clear to all that it’s crucial for British national security that cutting-edge technology is made available to the armed forces as quickly as possible. Callum uses unorthodox methods in his attempt to convince Dieter to work with the British and eventually a friendship develops between the two men, but soon tensions arise as all is not as it seems.
Over the course of the series, Callum encounters a number of other characters whose stories all intertwine. These characters include Victor (Highmore), Callum’s younger brother, struggling to deal with psychological trauma caused by his experience in the fighting; Harold (Molina), a Foreign Office official who reveals some startling truths about the outbreak of the war; Rachel (Riley), an enchanting Anglophile American engaged to his best friend; and Kathy (Fox), a tough young woman working for the War Crimes Unit, fighting to bring war criminals who escaped prosecution to justice. All these characters are trying to rebuild and move their lives forward in the aftermath of the war, a war that scarred them all so deeply.
Producer Helen Flint, a long-time collaborator with Poliakoff on productions such as Shooting The Past and Perfect Strangers, says: “Close To The Enemy is set in the transitional period of 1946 – the brutal second World War is finally over but the destruction of families and cities permeates everyone’s lives. As the Cold War takes its hold in Europe and the public realisation that the atom bomb could be used by any government, our hero Callum (Jim Sturgess) passionately believes that to safeguard the future you mustn’t heed the past regardless of how terrible it has been. However, as the story unfolds, he finds that he is compelled to look backwards and eventually realises that you have to judge (for good or ill) those voluntarily or involuntarily involved in order to actually have a safer world.”
Close to the Enemy is written and directed by the multi-award-winning Stephen Poliakoff (Dancing On The Edge, Glorious 39, Gideon’s Daughter) and produced by Helen Flint (Longford, The Take, Galavant). The executive producers are Helen Flint and Hilary Bevan Jones (Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot, The Escape Artist).
Close To The Enemy is produced in association with All3media International as the overseas partner on the show. It will film in and around Liverpool and London until summer 2015, for transmission in 2016.