BBC enters The Ministry of Time, adapted by Alice Birch from Kaliane Bradley’s debut novel

PHOTO: Kaliane Bradley (Image: Robin Christian) and Alice Birch (Image: Georgina Ower)

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The BBC has commissioned The Ministry of Time, a new drama based on Kaliane Bradley’s hotly anticipated debut novel of the same name, adapted by Alice Birch (Normal People, The End We Start From, Dead Ringers). The six-part series will be produced by A24 (Beef, Such Brave Girls, Dreaming Whilst Black) for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

The Ministry of Time, a newly established government department, is gathering ‘expats’ from across history in an experiment to test the viability of time-travel. Commander Graham Gore (an officer on Sir John Franklin's doomed 1845 Arctic expedition) is one such figure rescued from certain death – alongside an army captain from the fields of the Somme, a plague victim from the 1600s, a widow from revolutionary France, and a soldier from the seventeenth century.

The expats are placed with 21st century liaisons, known as 'bridges', in unlikely flatshares. Gore has to learn about contemporary life from scratch: from air travel to industrial warfare, from feminism to Spotify, from cinema to indoor plumbing; and he must negotiate cohabiting with the ambitious modern woman who works as his bridge. After an awkward beginning, the pair start to find pleasure and comfort in each other’s company, developing a relationship that is simultaneously tender, intense and profoundly unprofessional; and the expats, adrift in a new era, form friendships that ground and support them in the lonely 21st century, where they have outlived everyone they ever knew and loved.

When a deeper conspiracy at the Ministry begins to reveal itself, the bridge must reckon with what she does next. Will she save or sacrifice the exiled misfits she has come to care for so deeply?

The Ministry of Time author Kaliane Bradley says: "I could not be more excited for The Ministry of Time to find a new home on screen, with the dream-come-true combination of A24, the BBC and brilliant Alice Birch. I'm sure Graham Gore would have been delighted too, once someone had explained to him what all that meant."

Screenwriter Alice Birch says: “I'm so thrilled to be adapting Kaliane's beautiful, funny, joyful, moving, intelligent book with the BBC and A24. Reading it was an exhilarating, thrilling and heartbreaking experience and I'm so excited to bring this story to the screen.”

Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, says: “We can’t wait to welcome BBC viewers to The Ministry of Time. It’s a series that feels utterly unique, fusing genres of romance, thriller, sci-fi and state of the nation drama. It’s both epic and intimate with an array of memorable characters, and a beautiful central relationship. And who better to bring it to our screens than the remarkable Alice Birch?”

The Ministry of Time (6x60) was commissioned by Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, and is written by Alice Birch, adapted from the forthcoming novel by Kaliane Bradley. It is executive produced by A24, Alice Birch, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. The series will be distributed internationally by A24.

Source BBC One

February 23, 2024 4:00am ET by BBC One  

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