Sian Clifford lands new role in BBC drama Life After Life

Jen Crothers
·2-min read
Photo credit: Corey Nickols
Photo credit: Corey Nickols

Fleabag's Sian Clifford, Years And Years' Jessica Hynes and Downton Abbey's Jessica Brown Findlay have been cast in a new BBC adaptation of Kate Atkinson's bestselling novel, Life After Life.

The stars, from some of the biggest TV successes of the last few years, have begun filming the celebrated book, which won the Costa Novel Prize in 2013. It's been adapted by award winning playwright Bash Doran’s (The Looming Tower, Traitors), into a four-part drama. It's directed by BAFTA winner John Crowley (Brooklyn).

Here's what we know about the series so far...

Photo credit: Corey Nickols
Photo credit: Corey Nickols

Life After Life: What's it about?

Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace, Jojo Rabbit) plays Ursula Todd who is born to Sylvie and Hugh (Sian Clifford and James McArdle) one night in 1910, but dies before she can live.

Fans of the book will be aware that on that same night in 1910, Ursula is reborn and survives. Time and time again, Ursula is reborn into a new and alternative iteration of life.

This compelling story follows Ursula as she navigates each new life, through critical historical points, including two world wars and major life events. But what is it that Ursula so desperately needs to stay alive for?

Can a perfect life ever be lived? Can the course of history ever be changed? Can Ursula save the world?

Thomasin McKenzie said: "I'm drawn to Life After Life because it makes me laugh, cry, clench my fists in anger or whoop with empowerment.

"Bash has done a stunning job at adapting Kate Atkinson's masterpiece, and working with John has already taught me a great deal - reinforcing my love for collaborating and creating."

Tessa Ross and Juliette Howell, executive producers for House Productions, who are making the series, add: "We feel extremely lucky to have worked with John Crowley and Fiona Weir to assemble such a very special cast - some of the UK’s most talented actors for this wonderful story of Ursula Todd’s many fascinating, joyful, traumatic, amusing and surprising lives.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

"And in Thomasin, we have found our perfect heroine for Bash’s beautiful scripts. With her luminous intelligence, she brings an extraordinary maturity to this part."

Lucy Richer, Senior Commissioning Editor for the BBC, says: "I am thrilled that the brilliant Bash Doran has adapted Kate’s incredible and unique novel for the screen.

"Our outstanding director John Crowley has brought together a stunning cast led by the enchanting Thomasin McKenzie, and Life After Life is set to be a treat for BBC viewers."

Patsy Ferran (Black Narcissus), Harry Michell (Yesterday), Laurie Kynaston (The Trouble with Maggie Cole) Joshua Hill (Small Axe) and Maria Laird (Derry Girls) also star.

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