Small Axe: Letitia Wright & John Boyega to Lead TV Drama

Small Axe: Letitia Wright & John Boyega to lead Steve McQueen TV drama

Letitia Wright (Black Panther) and John Boyega (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) are set to lead the cast of Small Axe, Steve McQueen’s (12 Years a Slave, Widows) upcoming TV drama for BBC, Deadline has confirmed.

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The series revolves around London’s West Indian community between the 1960s-1980s. Malachi Kirby (Roots), Shaun Parkes (Lost in Space), Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty), Alex Jennings (Victoria), and Jack Lowden (Mary Queen of Scots), will also star.

Production on Small Axe has begun in London. The series is said to be comprised of six parts that tell five different stories. The title comes from a Jamaican proverb that reads: “If you are the big tree, we are the small axe,” meaning that relatively marginal or small voices of dissent can successfully challenge more powerful ones. It is also the title of a Bob Marley song from his album Catch a Fire.

“I felt these stories needed to be shared,” said McQueen. “I wanted to relive, reevaluate and investigate the journeys that my parents and the first generation of West Indians went on to deliver me here today calling myself a black British person. What’s important about our stories is that they are local but at the same time global. I think audiences will identify with the trials, tribulations, and joy of our characters as well as reflecting on the present environment in which we find ourselves. The dynamic nature of the series allows us to confront injustice in the face of adversity.”

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Small Axe was created by McQueen alongside Alastair Siddons and Courttia Newland. Alex Wheatle is serving as a writing consultant. McQueen will also executive produce along with Tracey Scoffield and David Tanner for Turbine Studios. Turbine Studios is producing with Lammas Park, alongside Anita Overland and Mike Elliot for EMU Films. The series will premiere on BBC One next year with BBC Studios handling international distribution. Amazon has acquired the U.S. rights.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)