Those who have read the cult hit YA novels by Malorie Blackman will be familiar with the premise of Noughts + Crosses. The story is set in a dystopian 21st-Century London, where racial segregation is enforced by law.
But it’s not what you think.
In this world, Africa conquered Europe hundreds of years ago, with black people as the colonisers. Whites were enslaved and black people were the superior race. Now, centuries later, slavery has been abolished, but a policy of complete separation between the races is upheld by the black government, and kept in place by the brute force of the military and police.
The area of Albion is a powder keg waiting to erupt. Young, disenfranchised white people, known as Noughts, are fed up of being treated like servants for the black ruling classes, known as Crosses, and are gearing up for a revolution under the Liberation Militia.
Amid the brewing tension, at the centre of the story are a white soldier called Callum and a black girl called Sephy, the daughter of a prominent politician who is campaigning for the current racial status quo to be upheld in the face of opposition from the outside world.
Sephy and Callum are united by love, but divided by the colour of their skin. Will they be allowed to let their budding romance flourish in a world where being together is against the law? And how will Callum face up to his friends in the opposition movement? Where do his loyalties really lie – with Sephy, or with the revolutionaries who are fighting for justice? And what will Stephy’s father do when he finds out?
The six-part series was adapted for TV by BAFTA-winning Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse, and, as you’ll notice immediately, was filmed in South Africa.
The gorgeous images
Callum is played by Jack Rowan, who you may recognise from Peaky Blinders. Newcomer Masali Baduza plays Sephy, and Josh Dylan (The End of the F**king World S2) stars as Callum’s friend who is instrumental in the opposition movement.
Sephy’s father is played by Paterson Joseph from Peep Show, The Leftovers and The End of the F**king World. Her mother Jasmine is played by South Africa’s own Bonnie Mbuli.
Helen Baxendale (Emily from Friends) stars as Callum’s mum, and there’s even an appearance by Stormzy – yes, the rapper, who, it just so happens, is a huge fan of the novels – as a newspaper editor, a role that was created specifically for the show.
Where and when to watch
Noughts + Crosses will be coming to Showmax and to M-Net on DStv Now in weekly episodes from 12 March 2020. The series lands in the UK on 5 March 2020. Keep your eyes out for more details about the show as we receive them!