Channel 4 has commissioned a new four-part drama from BAFTA- and Tony-winning writer Jack Thorne. Produced by The Forge in association with Hulu in the U.S., “The Light” will mark Thorne’s third drama for Channel 4 and Hulu that explores how the media spotlight can affect a community in the wake of a disaster.
“The Light” will focus on the repercussions of a catastrophic disaster that befalls a community in a small town in Wales, claiming many lives and threatening to tear the community apart as grief gives way to anger and blame. The series forms a loose trilogy with the writer’s previous four-part dramas for Channel 4 and Hulu, “National Treasure” and “Kiri.”
“At the beginning of ‘National Treasure’ we started talking about the possibilities of a trilogy which peeked behind the curtains of this country and tried to ask difficult questions about who we are and how the media paints us,” said Thorne. “I am so delighted we are going to get to finish that trilogy off.”
“National Treasure” (pictured) aired on Channel 4 in September 2016 and on Hulu the following March. Starring Robbie Coltrane and Julie Walters, it went on to win three BAFTA TV Awards including best miniseries. “Kiri,” starring Sarah Lancashire, aired on Channel 4 in January and on Hulu in April.
“Kiri” proved to be Channel 4’s most-watched drama since modern records began, with average viewing figures of nearly 5 million and an audience share of 18.7%. “National Treasure” averaged 3.7 million viewers across its four episodes. The U.K. broadcaster said that where “‘National Treasure’ was about shame and ‘Kiri’ about blame, ‘The Light’ will be about justice.”
Beth Willis, Channel 4’s head of drama, said Thorne had “a singular ability to explore some of the most complex and challenging topics facing modern Britain today with warmth and empathy, and also with sharp insight and fearless scrutiny.” She said the new show “promises to be another powerful examination of guilt, blame, responsibility and culpability.”
In June, Thorne saw the Broadway production of his stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” triumph at the Tony Awards, where it won six awards, including best play. The previous year, the original London West End production won nine Olivier Awards, from a then-record 11 nominations, including best new play.
Recently, Thorne worked on the screenplay for Julia Roberts’ drama “Wonder” and wrote “The Aeronauts,” which is currently filming in the U.K. with Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones as the leads.
“The Light” was commissioned by Willis for Channel 4. George Ormond and George Faber will serve as executive producers. The series is expected to begin production in 2019 and air later that year.