Nikki Amuka-Bird
Nikki Amuka-Bird

Nikki Amuka-Bird (“Luther”) and Phoebe Fox (“Hollow Crown”) are set to star in the BBC adaptation of Zadie Smith’s novel “NW.”

The BBC first announced the adaptation was in development last December, and with a cast now secured, filming has officially begun.

Phoebe Fox
Phoebe Fox

“NW” tells the story of Natalie and Leah, friends who grew up together in North West London, whose lives have taken them in different directions. Natalie’s wealth and ambition have set her apart from the friends and family she grew up with – and she finds herself asking not only who she really is, but where she belongs. In an area where wealth and poverty are only streets apart, life is fragile – as Natalie and Leah are about to find out.

Nikki Amuka-Bird, best known for playing DC Erin Gray opposite Idris Elba in BBC1 drama “Luther,” is playing Natalie, while Phoebe Fox is her Leah.

The 90-minute drama was adapted to teleplay by Rachel Bennette. Saul Dibb is directing.

The one-off drama is co-produced by BBC2 and Mammoth Screen.

Mammoth Screen executive producer Preethi Mavahalli said: “To call Zadie’s ‘NW’ a masterpiece is no exaggeration – it is a sharp and stunning portrait of modern life. Exploring themes of migration, class and friendship against the backdrop of a perfectly-observed London, it has all the ingredients of an outstanding piece of drama.”

“I am thrilled that NW’ is being made and especially pleased that Nikki Amuka-Bird is to play Natalie, a powerful stage actress who I know will bring depth and heart to the role,” said author Zadie Smith.


Amuka-Bird added, “‘NW’ was my postcode for many years and I was amazed to read a book that so brilliantly and honestly captured the reality of life in one of our most multi-cultural suburbs, so it’s thrilling to be involved in bringing it to the screen.”

First published in 2012, Smith’s tragi-comedy was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.