The BBC has released its first look at Noughts + Crosses, its upcoming adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses book series, set in an alternate history where African nations colonized Europe, leading to a stratified society where Crosses rule over Naughts.
The 6-episode show follows Stephy Hadley (Masali Baduza) and Callum (Jack Rowan), who fall in love despite the fact that they’re from two different parts of society—Stephy is the daughter of a powerful politician who’s poised to become president, while Callum McGregor is a member of the nation’s underclass.
The two grew up as friends, despite the societal lines, and when they’re older, begin a relationship that’s frowned upon by society. As this is happening, discontent is beginning to roil the country, threatening everyone.
The series is based on Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses YA series (Noughts & Crosses, 2001; Knife Edge, 2004; Checkmate, 2005; Double Cross, 2008; and Crossfire, 2019), and is written by Levi David Addai (Younger) and Matthew Graham (Life on Mars), with Mammoth Screen, Participant Media, and Jay Z’s Roc Nation producing.
The BBC announced the adaptation in 2016, with BBC Content Director Charlotte Moore noting that the book series is “the definitive book for a young adult audience,” and that it “explores really relevant themes about race, privilege and how we treat each other.”
The series debuts on BBC One on March 5th.