The pilot was adapted from the hugely popular web series co-written by Adjani Salmon and Ali Hughes. It gathered kudos for creator, star and co-writer Salmon, including the 2022 BAFTA craft award for Emerging Talent: Fiction, The Royal Television Society’s 2022 Breakthrough Award and the Soho House 59% Gen Now Award.
Loosely inspired by real life events, “Dreaming Whilst Black” follows aspiring filmmaker Kwabena (Salmon) in and out of reality as he tries to make it in “Babylon.” The problem is he’s broke, Black and born into a Jamaican family who wishes he was an accountant.
Global entertainment company A24 (“Euphoria,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once”) will co-produce and distribute the new six-part series internationally. It will be co-produced by BAFTA and Emmy nominated Big Deal Films (“Coconut,” “Holier Than Thou”).
Salmon, said: “When we made the web series we wanted to be ‘di bes ting pon di intanet.’ With all the support we now have, we want to make ‘di bes ting pon BBC TV,’ pun intended.”
Tanya Qureshi, head of comedy at the BBC, said: “We are sure it won’t come as a surprise that BBC Comedy wanted to take this wonderful project to series. Its success and recognition speaks for itself. It is a testament to the work that Big Deal Films and co-writers Adjani and Ali have done, that it has attracted such a strong partner in A24. We can’t wait to bring the series to U.K. audiences later next year.”
Co-executive producer Dhanny Joshi, Big Deal Films, added: “We are thrilled for the opportunity to continue telling Kwabena’s story in creative collaboration with A24, BBC Comedy and the rest of our incredible cast, writers and crew. The response we’ve received from audiences who continue to discover the ‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ pilot is one of the most deeply rewarding experiences we’ve shared. To hear viewers express how the show made them ‘feel seen’ has been inspirational, and we’re so grateful to the team at BBC Comedy and A24 for making the series a reality.”
‘Dreaming Whilst Black’ was commissioned by Jon Petrie, director of comedy commissioning at the BBC and Fiona Campbell, controller BBC Three. Executive producers are Joshi, Thomas Stogdon and Salmon and the series will be directed by Jermain Julien and Joelle Mae David and produced by Nicola Gregory. The commissioning editor for the BBC is Qureshi.
The original web series was created by Salmon, Max Evans, Laura de Sousa Seixas and Natasha Jatania of 4 Quarters Films.
Strategic advice and commercial support was provided by Bal Samra of Bizet Media. CAA represent Big Deal Films and brokered the partnership with A24.
“Dreaming Whilst Black” will be broadcast on BBC Three and iPlayer in 2023.