Keeley Hawes & Max Beesley set to star in Sky Original drama The Midwich Cuckoos

Wednesday 28 April 2021

Sky announced today casting news for Sky Original drama The Midwich Cuckoos, a dark, disturbing modern-day reimagining of John Wyndham’s classic science fiction novel of the same name. BAFTA-nominated Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard, It’s A Sin), and Max Beesley (The Outsider, Suits) are set to lead the line-up alongside Aisling Loftus (A Discovery of Witches), Ukweli Roach (Blindspot), Synnøve Karlsen (Last Night In Soho, Clique), Lara Rossi (Robin Hood), Lewis Reeves (I May Destroy You), Rebekah Staton (Raised by Wolves) and Anneika Rose (Line of Duty).

The Midwich Cuckoos is set to begin production in London in May and has been adapted for the screen by Emmy award-nominated writer David Farr (The Night Manager, Hanna). The eight-part series is produced by Route 24 (backed by ITV Studios) and Snowed-In Productions, in association with Sky Studios. The modern-day adaptation is set to air on Sky and streaming service NOW in 2022.

Midwich, a small English commuter town, is liberal and aspirational, populated by nuclear families and affluent high streets. A place where nothing much happens – and for a very good reason.

That is until the twilight hours of a summer’s day when a sleepy corner of Midwich is plunged into panic. People pass out on their feet without warning, without reason. Anyone who tries to enter meets the same fate. And nobody can understand why. When the mysterious blackout is lifted, life for those affected returns to apparent normality - except every woman of child-bearing age inside the zone has suddenly and inexplicably fallen pregnant.

As news spreads and tensions simmer, it is up to gifted psychotherapist Dr Susannah Zellaby (Hawes) to help support those affected through the emotional wilderness. Susannah’s own daughter, Cassie (Karlsen), has fallen pregnant and harbours deep concerns about who, or what, is behind this phenomenon.

Local officer DCI Paul Kirby (Beesley) is tasked with maintaining order but unbeknownst to them all, a terrifying force is building in the comfortable streets of Midwich. These children – potential parasites - flourish under the very love and care that their families give them. Who are these children? And what do they want?

The Midwich Cuckoos is an unnerving fable for our turbulent times, a thrilling, strange and at times horrifying journey into parenthood, which lays bare any parent’s worst fear: that the thing most precious to us – a child – might desire our destruction.

Gabriel Silver, Director of Commissioning for Drama said, “From A Discovery of Witches to Patrick Melrose, we’ve had huge success taking modern classics from page to screen and giving them a fresh, modern, edge that is distinctly Sky. When the opportunity arose to create a modern-day adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel that is The Midwich Cuckoos, we jumped at the chance.”

David Farr, writer and creator of The Midwich Cuckoos said, "I first read The Midwich Cuckoos when I was twelve. I was living in a small town in 1980s Britain. Everything about the book rang true to me and terrified me. An invasion of a small community by a hostile and ruthless force. Apparently innocent children as a force of huge malevolent power. It got under my skin.

“As I've grown older, the story has never ceased to exert a grip. The idea that we may birth our own destruction is so simple and frightening. That as a mother or a father, the being we love most in the world may turn on us. It's the stuff of nightmares."

Keeley Hawes, lead actor in The Midwich Cuckoos said “I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Sky and the brilliant Ruth Kenley-Letts on David Farr’s superb adaptation of The Midwich Cuckoos. I’m very much looking forward to working with the hugely talented Max Beesley and the amazing cast and I can’t wait to enter the strange and unsettling world of Midwich!”

The Midwich Cuckoos was commissioned for Sky by Zai Bennett, Sky UK’s Managing Director of Content. Manpreet Dosanjh is the Commissioning Editor for Sky Studios. The series is written by David Farr, Sasha Hails, Namsi Khan and Laura Lomas. Alice Troughton (Baghdad Central, Cucumber, A Discovery of Witches) is the lead director, with Jennifer Perrott (Gentleman Jack, Doctor Who) serving as director. The series is produced by Route 24 and Snowed-In Productions in association with Sky Studios. The executive producers are Marc Samuelson and Robert Cheek for Route 24 and Ruth Kenley-Letts and Neil Blair for Snowed-In Productions. Series producer is Eliza Mellor (Poldark, Behind Her Eyes).

The Midwich Cuckoos will transmit on Sky One and NOW in the UK and Ireland and will be available in all Sky markets. NBCUniversal Global Distribution will handle international sales of the series on behalf of Sky Studios.

For more information please contact:

holly.osmondsmith@sky.uk


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About Sky

Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Across six countries, we connect our 24 million customers to the best entertainment, sports, news and arts including our own award-winning original content.

Our technology, including the market leading Sky Q, connects people to everything they love – with entertainment from Sky TV, Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and BBC iPlayer, and apps like Spotify, YouTube, BBC Sounds, Highbrow, Fiit, and more, in one place, easy. Our streaming service NOW, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

Building on the success of Sky Originals like Chernobyl, Bulletproof and Brassic, we are doubling our investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios. Sky News provides impartial and

trustworthy journalism for free, Sky Arts is the UK’s only dedicated free-to-air arts channel making the arts accessible for everyone and Sky Sports, our leading sports broadcasting service brings customers some of the biggest and best global sporting events from the Premier League to Formula 1 and everything in between. Our new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, which will open in 2022, is expected to create over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK over the first five years.

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NOW is the home of brilliant entertainment. We’re one of the UK’s leading streaming platforms with critically acclaimed shows, new and exclusive movies, unmissable sport and epic kids TV – all with no contract. Join in with an Entertainment, Cinema, Sports, Kids or hayu Membership to stream instantly across TV, mobile, desktop and over 60 other devices. Watch on the go and even offline with our app by downloading shows and movies.

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About Route 24

Route 24 is an independent television production company founded by Marc Samuelson, Robert Cheek and Josie Law. ITV Studios Global Distribution own a minority stake in the company.

Route 24 has a number of original series and adaptations in development with broadcasters and has an overall deal with the John Wyndham Estate.

The company is also in production with AMC Networks’ Acorn TV detective drama Signora Volpe. Created and written by Rachel Cuperman and Sally Griffiths (Midsomer Murders), the three feature-length contemporary and surprising mysteries stars Emilia Fox (Silent Witness, Delicious, The Pianist) as a disillusioned British spy turned detective in the beautiful heart of Italy. Tara Fitzgerald (Belgravia, Game of Thrones) also stars.

About Snowed-In Productions

Snowed-In Productions was founded in 2014 to work alongside Brontë Film and Television (The Casual Vacancy, the Strike series) on non J.K. Rowling projects.

Snowed-In develops and produces innovative, original and ambitious television drama. We tell stories in all genres, stories that put the human condition at their centre and always with heart. We are working with writers at the top of their game as well as emerging voices, all of whom share our passion for delivering high quality and compelling drama.

Coupled with exceptional producing expertise, we are building a diverse development slate, which will appeal to audiences at home and internationally.

The production company’s first production Mrs. Wilson, based on the true story of spy novelist Alexander Wilson and his wives, was broadcast in 2018 on BBC One. The three-part drama was exceptionally well received with positive critical reviews and a consolidated audience of around 9 million in the UK. The show also received four BAFTA nominations including Best Miniseries, and Best Actress for Ruth Wilson – who played her own grandmother. The company most recently produced ITV’s Too Close starring Emily Watson and Denise Gough and is currently filming a new BBC eight-part drama You Don’t Know Me based on the bestselling novel by Imran Mahmood and written by Tom Edge (The Crown, Strike).

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