Christopher Eccleston and Mackenzie Crook take lead roles in new BBC drama

Christopher Eccleston (Lennon Naked, Doctor Who) and Mackenzie Crook (Pirates Of The Caribbean) are to star in new BBC One six-part drama Accused, by Jimmy McGovern.

Christopher Eccleston and Mackenzie Crook play the leading characters in the first two episodes of Accused; separate stories which open as an ordinary individual is led to the dock to hear his fate.

As each hour-long episode unravels we learn how each man came to be there. But on reflection should they be the accused? Are they innocent or guilty or somewhere in between? And will the jury make the right judgement?

RSJ Films, the independent television and film drama production company founded in August 2009 by Jimmy McGovern, Sita Williams and Roxy Spencer, the creative team responsible for the multi-award winning BBC One hit The Street, begins filming Accused, an unflinching contemporary six-part drama, this month.

Jimmy McGovern says: “In the time it takes to climb the steps to the court we tell the story of how the accused came to be here. We see the crime and we see the punishment. Nothing else. No police procedure, thanks very much, no coppers striding along corridors with coats flapping. Just crime and punishment – the two things that matter most in any crime drama.

“It’s great to work with Chris again and I’ve often tried in the past to get Mackenzie into something of mine. And needless to say, it’s wonderful to reunite the team that made The Street.”

Polly Hill, BBC Commissioning Editor, says: “After three wonderful, award-winning series of The Street, we are thrilled the same team are making Accused for BBC One. The first commission for RSJ Films, Jimmy McGovern, Sita Williams and Roxy Spencer, together with David Blair, continue to make drama that is relevent, challenging and above all moving. I’m sure this will prove to be a real treat for the BBC One audience.”

Accused was commissioned by BBC One Controller Jay Hunt, and Ben Stephenson, Controller of Drama Commissioning, and is executive produced for the BBC by Polly Hill, Commissioning Editor, Independent Drama. Sita Williams is the producer and executive producer for RSJ Films.

Christopher Eccleston stars as a man in turmoil in Willy’s Story by Jimmy McGovern, which starts filming on 30 May. Lapsed Catholic Willy does his best; he’s a good plumber and a loving father, but he fails to be a faithful husband.

Just when Willy is about to confess to his wife Carmel, played by Pooky Quesnel, his daughter announces she’s getting married. Willy’s guilty secret must wait while pressure from all sides keeps growing. He is about to implode when he finds something in the back of a cab and it’s either the answer to his prayers or the beginning of his downfall…

Mackenzie Crook stars as Buckley, a soldier’s soldier – a man you need on your side if you are to survive. The Soldier Story is written by Jimmy McGovern and begins filming on 10 May.

Newcomers Benjamin Smith and Ben Batt play Frankie Nash and Peter McShane respectively, two friends who join the British army. Soon they are on the frontline in Afghanistan where they learn that not obeying orders has deadly consequences, and that the enemy are not necessarily who you think they are. Robert Pugh plays Peter McShane Senior, an army veteran who is proud to have a son in the military keeping the family tradition alive.

A further four episodes of Accused film in and around Manchester until the end of August this year and further casting will be announced shortly.

The directors are David Blair (The Street), (eps 1, 2, 5 & 6) and Richard Laxton (An Englishman In New York), (eps 3 & 4).

About the author

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1