BBC announces Riz Ahmed-created drama series Englistan

BBC announces Riz Ahmed-created drama series Englistan

Actor Riz Ahmed has said it is a “privilege” to have created a new BBC drama series about a British Pakistani family and their lives across four decades.

The Star Wars: Rogue One and The Night Of star is behind Englistan, which tells the story of three generations of the Latif family through changing times.

Englistan will re-frame recent British history and explore the forces that have shaped today’s society, while looking at the Latifs through political movements, gang-land rivalries and cultural assimilation through religious conflict and moments of soul-searching.

Emmy Award-winner Ahmed described the programme as “an untold British story with universal themes and resonance”.

He added: “It’s the story I always wanted to tell, and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to do so.”

The series, set to air on BBC Two, has the same name as a 2016 mixtape released by Ahmed, who also goes by the musical stage name Riz MC.

Patrick Holland, controller of BBC Two, said: “Riz Ahmed is a phenomenal talent and Englistan promises to be a hugely ambitious, layered and resonant drama about family and identity.

“New writing, massive canvas, the biggest issues; it is a perfect drama for BBC 2.”

Englistan, which will be co-executive produced by Ahmed, was one of several programmes announced on BBC Two’s new season line-up.

Toby Jones will star in new dark comedy series Don’t Forget The Driver, which he has also written and co-created with playwright Tim Crouch.

Toby Jones (Yui Mok/PA)
Toby Jones (Yui Mok/PA)

The show, based in the seaside town of Bognor Regis, will follow coach driver and single father Peter Green (Jones), and his struggles with his mundane daily routine, his disaffected daughter and his confused mother, and the discovery of a dead body on the beach.

Jones said: “We hope that Don’t Forget the Driver will be an unusually funny drama about small town Britain and the joys of coach travel.”

Other new additions to BBC Two include comedy series Defending The Guilty, starring Humans and The It Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson, and The Other One, featuring Downton Abbey star Siobhan Finneran and The Thick Of It’s Rebecca Front.

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