BBC Greenlights Motown Musical Drama ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’

Four-part miniseries is written by Tony Jordan, above

LONDON — The BBC has commissioned musical drama miniseries “Stop! In the Name of Love,” which incorporates many Motown songs.

The four-part miniseries is written by Tony Jordan (“Hustle,” “Life on Mars”), based on a format created by Stop! (London) Ltd. It is a co-production between Jordan’s Red Planet Pictures and Stop! (London) Ltd. following a deal with EMI Music Publishing.

The drama follows six smart thirtysomething women in contemporary England. It focuses on the women’s complicated lives as they deal with love, friendship, success and failure. The music of Berry Gordy Jr.’s record label will be woven into each drama, with characters singing songs at key moments within the spoken narrative. Each song (five per episode) will express the situation and emotions of the characters and be an integral part of the drama.

The production is the product of a joint venture between Jordan, top U.K. film producer Duncan Kenworthy (“Notting Hill,” “Love Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral”), group managing director of Antenna Group and former president of NBCUniversal International, Peter Smith, and music consultant and former chairman of Universal Music U.K., John Kennedy, who have concluded a deal with EMI Music Publishing, the owners of the publishing rights to Motown’s library of hits.

Jordan said: “‘Stop! In the Name of Love’ offers something completely different from any other show on television, and I am delighted that the BBC has commissioned our ambitious new original drama. We’ve been developing the series for the past 18 months, and have created a piece of drama that will be unmissable event TV and that truly reflects the multicultural world we’ve become. The music of Motown is iconic and mirrors the rich gamut of human emotion and experience as well as exploring universal themes that all cultures and ages can relate to. The musical arrangements and cutting-edge choreography will give us a uniquely modern take on a genre of music that is truly timeless.”

Kenworthy said: “I’m hugely excited about this opportunity to integrate some of the coolest songs ever written into a big, bold, diverse drama about contemporary love lives, and delighted that the BBC has commissioned it. Some music is so famous that it’s already woven into our lives. ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’ will use Motown’s unforgettable tunes and powerful lyrics to help express the emotional complications – the heart and the heartbreak — of the new world we’re living in.”

The series’ executive producers are Jordan, Kenworthy, Belinda Campbell for Red Planet Pictures, and Polly Hill for BBC One.

The show’s casting and director will be announced in due course.

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