Breaking The Mould

Dominic West (The Wire, The Devil’s Whore) will star as straight-talking Australian scientist Professor Howard Florey in Breaking The Mould, a BBC Drama Production for BBC Four, it was announced today.

It is widely recognised that Alexander Fleming was the man who discovered penicillin but the truth is a bit more complicated than that – and the extraordinary story of Professor Florey is hardly known.

Set against the background of the early years of the Second World War, this factually-based drama shows how it was Professor Florey and his team who persevered against incredible odds to make penicillin an applicable medicine, whilst refusing to patent it for commercial gain.

A revealing, poignant and witty character-driven account of a miraculous scientific breakthrough, Breaking The Mould tells the little-known story of Professor Florey and the team of unsung heroes from the prestigious Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University who were behind the discovery of penicillin, which changed the world of medicine forever.

Dominic West says: “It’s great to be working with BBC Drama on such a brilliant script. The story of Florey seems little known in the UK but in Australia, he is considered one of their greatest heroes and therefore it is wonderful to be playing him.”

Joe Armstrong (Robin Hood) will play Norman Heatley, the most junior member of Florey’s team.

Denis Lawson (Jekyll, The Passion) will play Alexander Fleming, who first discovered penicillin in 1928.

John Sessions (Margaret, Oliver Twist) will play Edward Mellanby.

The drama was written for BBC Drama Production by Kate Brooke (Joanne Lees: Murder In The Outback) for transmission on BBC Four this summer. Filming began last week in London.

Breaking The Mould was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, and Richard Klein, Controller BBC Four.

The director is Peter Hoar and the producer is Pier Wilkie. The Executive Producers are Michael Mosley and John Yorke, and Jamie Laurenson is the Commissioning Editor.

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