Showing an alternate world where people of colour are superior to the white race, the novels begin with a tale of love within this racially charged dystopia. Despite being a work of teen fiction, Noughts and Crosses explores mature themes that continue to wrack society.
A new BBC adaptation of the popular and provocative novel, the first in the series, will air later this year – served up by a young and diverse cast. It promises an ever-challenging reminder of the problems society faces and fosters. Here's everything we know so far.
What's the Noughts and Crosses plot?
In Blackman’s parallel dystopia, those with black skin (‘Crosses’) rule over the white underclass (‘Noughts’). Slavery is disestablished, but strict race laws keep the Noughts in line, and interracial relationships between the two groups are punishable.
Sephy, a Cross, and Callum, a Nought, are childhood friends in a world where such a thing is hardly possible. Against a backdrop of intermittent violence and bubbling rebellion, their friendship blossoms into a dangerous romance – jeopardising their right to be together.
Though published in 2001, the story maintains a timeless relevance. Blackman published a new sequel to the series in August, Crossfire, so there's potential for the BBC adaptation to continue for five series. Let's just hope this first series is up to scratch.
The rapper Stormzy makes a surprising cameo appearance in Noughts + Crosses
Who’s in the Noughts and Crosses cast?
Peaky Blinders’ Jack Rowan and newcomer Masali Baduza star as the young, forbidden lovers Sephy and Callum.
Paterson Joseph (Peep Show) and Bonnie Mbuli (Invictus) will feature as Sephy’s parents, Home Secretary Kamal Hadley and Jasmine, with Helen Baxendale (Cuckoo, Friends) and Ian Hart (Harry Potter) as Callum’s parents, Meggie and Ryan.
Stormzy makes a surprising cameo appearance as newspaper editor Kolawale. The rapper’s support of black students and professionals sets him up well for the rebirth of Blackman’s politically salient tale – especially with his charged Glastonbury performance this year, which featured extracts from Noughts and Crosses.
What’s the Noughts and Crosses release date?
The series began filming in South Africa late last year, and it's expected to air on BBC One this autumn or winter. The BBC provided a little taster in their new drama trailer.
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