Production has commenced on “Dope Girls,” a new six-part drama series commissioned by the BBC and produced by Bad Wolf in collaboration with Sony Pictures Television.
Set to air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, “Dope Girls” is the brainchild of multi-award-winning writer Polly Stenham (known for works like “That Face,” “Julie,” and “Neon Demon”) and Alex Warren (“Eleanor”). The series draws inspiration from a overlooked period in history when, in the aftermath of World War One, female gangs took control of the clubs, drugs, and moonshine in the streets of Soho.
Julianne Nicholson, renowned for her role in “Mare of Easttown,” takes on the lead as Kate Galloway, a single mother who establishes a nightclub in the midst of the hedonistic chaos of post-World War One London. She embraces a life of criminal activities with the sole purpose of providing for her daughter Evie, played by Eilidh Fisher (featured in “The Power”).
Eliza Scanlen (“Little Women”) portrays Violet Davies, one of the first female officers for the Metropolitan Police. She is tasked with going undercover to investigate the illicit world of underground Soho nightclubs. It is in this clandestine environment that we encounter Billie Cassidy, played by Umi Myers (“Bob Marley: One Love”), a captivating bohemian dancer whose life is upended by Kate’s arrival.
Geraldine James (“Silo”) stars as Isabella, the leader of the criminal Salucci family, with Rory Fleck Bryne (“This Is Going To Hurt”) as Luca Salucci, Dustin Demri-Burns (“Slow Horses,” “Am I Being Unreasonable?”) as Damaso Salucci, Eben Figueiredo (“The Serial Killer’s Wife”) as Matteo Rossi Salucci, and Sebastian Croft (“Heartstopper”) as Silvio Salucci.
The cast also includes Michael Duke (“Get Up Stand Up”) as Eddie Cobb, Ian Bonar (“I May Destroy You”) as Sgt Frank Turner, Laura Checkley (“Screw”) as Sarah Fisher, Will Keen (“His Dark Materials”) as Frederick Asquith-Gore, Fiona Button (“The Split”) as Sophie Asquith-Gore, Harry Cadby (“Everything Now”) as Jimmy Conville, Nabhaan Rizwan (“Informer”) as Silas Huxley, Priya Kansara (“Polite Society”) as Lily Lee, and Jordan Kouamé (“Malpractice”) as Reggie Regbo.
Jane Tranter comments, “Dope Girls is quintessentially Bad Wolf. A viscerally thrilling drama that rides through the underbelly of organised crime in the early 20th Century with a uniquely female point of view. Polly and Alex’s visionary fictional take on Soho is as audacious as the world it portrays.”
Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, says: “We can’t wait for viewers to discover the bold and brilliant Dope Girls. Packed full of complex and electrifying characters from a fascinating time in Britain’s history, this will be must-see, ambitious drama.”
In addition to being lead writers, Stenham and Warren will serve as Executive Producers alongside Kate Crowther and Jane Tranter from Bad Wolf, and Michael Lesslie for Storyteller Productions, with Rebecca Ferguson representing the BBC. Other contributors to the series include Matthew Barry (also serving as EP), and writers Matthew Jacobs Morgan and Xiao Tang.
Shannon Murphy (“Babyteeth,” “Killing Eve”) leads as the director, with Miranda Bowen (“Women In Love”) taking charge of later episodes. The Directors of Photography include Annika Summerson and Carlos Catalan, while Sherree Philips (“Babyteeth”) serves as the production designer. Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto is the producer, and casting is handled by Julie Harkin and Nathan Toth.
The project’s development and oversight were spearheaded by Bad Wolf’s Director of Content, Dan McCulloch, and Chief Creative Officer, Ryan Rasmussen. “Dope Girls” was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, with international distribution being managed by Sony Pictures Television.