Photo: Claudia Leisinger

Filming has just started in Manchester for LIFE, a new six-part BBC One drama due to hit screens next year from the team behind Doctor Foster.

Created by Mike Bartlett, the cast includes Alison Steadman (Gavin & Stacey), Peter Davison (Doctor Who), Adrian Lester (Trauma), Victoria Hamilton (Doctor Foster), and Rachael Stirling (The Bletchley Circle).

Described by BBC One executive producer Ben Irving as “a beautiful, tender, funny, and unexpected emotional rollercoaster of a show,” the new drama follows the stories of the residents in a large house in Manchester divided into flats. 

Gail (Alison Steadman), married to Henry (Peter Davison), is about to celebrate her 70th birthday when a chance encounter throws her whole life into question.

“Mike Bartlett is a brilliant writer and has created an extraordinary character in Gail,” says Alison Steadman about the role. 

David (Adrian Lester) is happily married to Kelly (Rachael Stirling), but is conflicted by temptation when he meets the impulsive Saira (Saira Choudhry) on holiday.

Pilates teacher Belle’s (Victoria Hamilton), neatly ordered life is disrupted by the unexpected arrival of her chaotic 15-year-old niece Maya (Erin Kellyman).

Meanwhile heavily pregnant Hannah (Melissa Johns), who is happily coupled up with safe and stable Liam (Joshua James), has her plans upended by the return of Andy (Calvin Demba), with whom she had a passionate one-night stand nine months previously.

The cast also includes Elaine Paige (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Susannah Fielding (This Time with Alan Partridge).

“This show is all about a group of remarkable characters with unexpected desires and hidden secrets, in search of something beyond their everyday lives,” says creator Mike Bartlett.

“It’s just wonderful to have this fantastic cast to tell those stories, and to be working again with Drama Republic for the BBC.”

Roanna Benn and Jude Liknaitzky, executive producers for Drama Republic, added: “We are so happy to be reunited with Mike post Doctor Foster and cannot wait to see his stories about the bigness, smallness and uncontrollable nature of life come alive in the hands of this exceptional cast.”

LIFE is filming in Manchester now. It will air on BBC One next year.

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