“Bring the Drama,” a captivating six-part series jointly produced by BBC Arts and Wall to Wall Media, is set to take audiences on an exciting journey into the world of screen drama. Premiering on BBC Two and iPlayer, the show offers a unique opportunity for eight individuals with dreams of becoming professional actors, who, until now, have faced barriers to entering the industry.

Hosted by the talented actor and comedian Bill Bailey, the series follows the aspiring actors over six weeks as they receive guidance from renowned casting director Kelly Valentine Hendry. Known for her work on hit shows like Bridgerton, Gangs of London, Ghosts, and Broadchurch, Hendry mentors the participants on real-life sets of celebrated UK dramas such as Peaky Blinders, EastEnders, and Silent Witness.

The aspiring actors, equipped with real scripts, cameras, and the time pressures of the industry, collaborate to recreate iconic scenes from these dramas. Alongside their practical experiences, they receive invaluable advice from established actors, including Natalie Cassidy (EastEnders), Genesis Lynea (Silent Witness, Champion), Charles Venn (Casualty, Dream Team), Ed Speleers (Downton Abbey, You), and Rochenda Sandall (Line of Duty, The Rig). Industry experts, such as the Peaky Blinders fight coordinator and the Sex Education intimacy coordinator, further enhance their learning.

As the series unfolds, the aspiring actors grapple with the challenges of screen acting, gaining insights into the demanding nature of the profession. The culmination of their intense learning process sees casting director Kelly selecting three actors she deems ready for the industry, offering them a chance to showcase their talent at a major industry event and potentially secure representation from a leading agent.

The selection process for “Bring The Drama” was rigorous, with all eight actors chosen through an open casting call, attracting nearly 2000 amateur actors from across the UK. Selected for their raw talent, these individuals have not attended drama school or found a way into the professional acting arena, hindered by various factors and access issues.

Bill Bailey says: “It has been a delight to work on Bring The Drama and witness first-hand how the actors have grown in confidence and skills over the weeks. What I particularly liked was the way it shows the whole process of making TV – being on an actual set, with a real crew to help you learn what it’s really like. It was great fun but also a brilliant insight into how casting works and a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of some of our most popular tv shows.”

Kelly Valentine-Hendry, casting director, says: “Historically it has been much easier to break into the industry if you come from a privileged background and the more we can do to change that, the better. This series is a brilliant way to emphasise and celebrate that great talent can come from anywhere. And above all, it’s a real insight into all the hard work that goes into bringing great drama to screen. It’s not easy – in fact, I think people will be surprised by how challenging it is!”

Suzy Klein, Head of Arts TV at the BBC, says: “We conceived Bring the Drama to shine a light on the fascinating world of being an actor – to show the expertise and skills needed to succeed and the challenges of breaking into such a fiercely competitive industry. Our acting cohort, like many people in the UK, have a real passion for drama but none of them have had the opportunity to go into the profession. With input from some of the UK’s leading drama schools, we developed a series that would really get under the bonnet of what it takes to become an actor, and were privileged to get onset with some of the country’s biggest TV dramas.

Partnering with over 100 organizations, including Arts Council England, National Theatre, and BAFTA, the festival offers a diverse range of events, from backstage tours to workshops, providing a unique opportunity for the next generation of behind-the-scenes talent to explore the creative industries. The festival will be accessible through the ERIC app from February 1, allowing audiences to find events in their local area.

“Bring The Drama” (6×60) is produced by Wall to Wall Media UK, commissioned by BBC Arts and BBC Factual Entertainment for BBC Two and iPlayer, with Suzy Klein and Clare Mottershead serving as commissioners. The series, led by executive producers Emily Smith and Alan Brown, promises to be a riveting exploration of the world of screen drama, offering a platform for aspiring actors to break into the industry.