The BBC has recently revealed its latest commission, “What It Feels Like For A Girl,” an audacious and vibrant series that offers a Y2K twist on the traditional coming-of-age drama. Inspired by the highly acclaimed memoir of the same name by award-winning writer and journalist Paris Lees, the eight-part series will be brought to life by Hera Pictures, known for their notable productions such as “Mary & George,” “Temple,” and “Hamnet.” The show will be aired on BBC Three and iPlayer, with Lees adapting the story for television, alongside lead director Chris Sweeney, recognised for his work on “The Tourist” and “Back To Life.”
Set against the backdrop of the new millennium, “What It Feels Like For A Girl” transports viewers to a world where Madonna, Moloko, and Basement Jaxx dominate the music charts, offering endless possibilities for exploration. However, the central protagonist, teenager Byron, finds himself trapped in a small working-class town still reeling from the effects of a coal mine closure in the 1980s. Frustrated with his surroundings and tired of enduring abuse for his mannerisms, Byron yearns for escape from his stifling environment, regardless of the cost.
Byron’s life takes an exhilarating turn when he ventures into Nottingham’s kinetic underworld and encounters Lady Die, a mesmerising figure who straddles the roles of podium dancer and rebel. Embracing Lady Die’s riotous and comical family of mischief-makers, known as “The Fallen Divas,” Byron embarks on a rollercoaster journey of hedonism within the pulsating club scene of the early 2000s. Together, they engage in a whirlwind of beguilement, thievery, and revelry, relishing in the heart of the United Kingdom’s vibrant nightlife.
However, the ephemeral joy cannot endure, and a transformative encounter with the captivating bad boy Liam alters Byron’s life irreversibly, forever changing its course.
“What It Feels Like For A Girl” promises to be a poignant, unapologetic portrayal of love and danger, self-discovery and self-destruction. Overflowing with vibrant characters, the series takes audiences on an unforgettable journey where losing oneself becomes the path to finding true identity.
Expressing her excitement about the project, writer and executive producer Paris Lees exclaims, “I’m excited, hysterical, thrown and overblown with bliss, but most of all I’m just having so much fun bringing this universe to life in a visual medium. It’s a primal scream – from the depths of a council estate – against a world that would prefer people who don’t fit the norm didn’t exist. But we do and we’re not going away, we’re not apologising and we’re not shutting up.”
Echoing Lees’ sentiments, Liza Marshall, executive producer for Hera Pictures, praises her as a remarkable talent. Marshall adds, “Paris is a truly exciting talent. She has created a daringly distinctive world, richly drawn characters that viewers will fall in love with, and a compelling story that will challenge perceptions.”
Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, shares the BBC’s enthusiasm for the project, stating, “We’re delighted to join forces with Paris Lees, Chris Sweeney, and all at Hera Pictures to bring Paris’ fantastic debut book to BBC Three and iPlayer. Anyone who’s read ‘What It Feels Like For A Girl’ will know what a hugely distinctive, surprising and moving work it is, and its journey to the BBC – adapted by Paris herself – sees the arrival of an exciting new voice in UK television.”
With an impressive lineup of talent, including lead director Chris Sweeney, “What It Feels Like For A Girl” promises to captivate audiences with its uniquely compelling narrative and visually stunning execution. Filming is scheduled to commence in 2024, and viewers can expect the series to air on BBC Three and iPlayer.
As anticipation builds for this groundbreaking production, audiences eagerly await the opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant and thought-provoking world of “What It Feels Like For A Girl,” where the power of self-discovery and the pursuit of personal truths take centre stage.