BBC Two and Netflix have teamed up to co-produce an eight-part international thriller titled Black Earth Rising from writer, director and producer Hugo Blick (The Honorable Woman, The Shadow Line).
The project will star Michaela Coel and John Goodman in the fictional drama series about the prosecution of international war crimes and the West’s relationship with contemporary Africa. Unfolding across Europe, Africa and North America, Black Earth Rising centers on Kate Ashby (Coel), who was rescued as a young child during the Rwandan genocide and adopted by Eve Ashby (Harriet Walter), a world-class British prosecutor in international criminal law. Kate was raised in Britain, and now in her late 20s, she works as a legal investigator in the law chambers of Michael Ennis (Goodman). When Eve takes on a case at the International Criminal Court prosecuting a militia leader of an African country (unnamed at the moment), the story detonates, pulling Michael and Kate into a journey that will upend their lives forever.
Coel and Goodman will be joined in front of the camera by Noma Dumezweni, Harriet Walter, Tamara Tunie, Lucian Msamati and Abena Ayivor.
“‘The past isn’t dead, it isn’t even past.’ I was never quite sure exactly what this famous quote meant, but by following the fictional journey of a young black British woman on an epic and deeply personal quest to bring a Rwandan genocidaire to legal justice – now I do,” writer and director Hugo Blick said. “And now I know just how critical, difficult and terrifying that phrase can seem to anyone in pursuit, and denial, of international criminal justice.”
Executive producer Greg Brenman added, “Black Earth Rising is a towering project that tackles challenging issues on a global scale, and we are honored to have such a stellar cast bring the story to life.”
The eight-part series is made by Forgiving Earth Limited, a co-production company of Eight Rooks Limited and Drama Republic Limited. The series is written and directed by Hugo Blick and produced by Blick and Abi Bach. Greg Brenman is executive producer for Drama Republic and Piers Wenger for the BBC.
The series is a co-production with Netflix and will premiere on BBC Two in the UK later this year (although no specific date has been set yet), and Netflix will stream internationally.