The Village is an epic drama series for BBC One starring Maxine Peake and John Simm, charting the life and turbulent times of one English village across the whole of the 20th century. The Village is written by Bafta-winning writer Peter Moffat.
The camera never leaves the village. Births, deaths, love and betrayal, great political events, upheavals in national identity, ways of working, rules kept and rebellions made, sex, religion, class, the shaping of modern memory – all refracted through the lives of the villagers and the village.
One man, Bert Middleton lives across the entire hundred years and his life story from boyhood to extreme old age provides the narrative backbone. His last great act of remembering is our way in to an examination of our recent past.
The series begins in 1914. Young Bert Middleton (introducing Bill Jones) is growing up in extreme poverty on a family farm in Derbyshire. His parents John (John Simm – State of Play, The Devil’s Whore) and Grace (Maxine Peake – Silk, Criminal Justice, Shameless) struggle to provide for Bert and his adored older brother Joe (Nico Mirallegro – My Fat Mad Teenage Diary, Upstairs Downstairs). John is proud, unyielding and haunted by his past. Grace devotes her life to protecting her sons from the violence of his despair. Is her sacrifice sustainable? Is John capable of redemption? Will Bert’s funny, gentle ways and rich imagination survive? Joe supplements the family income by working at the Big House, where he comes into contact with the troubled and deeply unstable Caro (Emily Beecham – The Runaway).
The first episode opens with the arrival of the first bus ever to stop in the village. Everyone gathers to see it and off the bus steps the beautiful, headstrong Martha Lane (Charlie Murphy – Misfits, Love Hate). Bert Middleton’s world will never be the same again.
Jim Cartwright (writer of Road and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice) plays Peter Baslow, the Landlord of the village pub. Other cast includes: Anthony Flanagan (Being Human), Annabelle Apsion (Shameless), Joe Armstrong (Robin Hood), Matt Stokoe (Misfits), Augustus Prew (The Borgias) and Stephen Walters (The 51st State).
John Simm says: “I’m delighted to be working with such a great director (Antonia Bird) and brilliant writer in Peter – I’ve long been a fan of both, alongside such a great cast”.
Maxine Peake says: “Beautiful writing – a period piece when we’re not focusing on the decision makers but the working people, it is so great to see the other side – changes within a chain of social and political life, in minutiae. My character, Grace channels all her energy into her family with a focus on ambition and the idea of freedom for her sons. Women moving into the workplace as the men went to fight and finding independence”.