Rapper Stormzy will be starring in the brand-new BBC thriller, Naughts + Crosses.
The show is an adaption of the 2001 young-adult novel of the same name, by Malorie Blackman.
It is based on a dystopian future where the race power dynamic is reversed, leaving black people (naughts) in control of the rest of society (crosses.)
In a Romeo and Juliet style twist, the book (and show) follow a couple who fall in love across the power dynamic.
Sephy (Masali Baduza) is a member of the black ruling class, the Crosses, and falls for her friend Callum (Peaky Blinders’ Jack Rowan) – who is a member of the white underclass, the Noughts.
Stormzy will play a newspaper editor, Kolawale, whose role was invented for the TV adaption of the award-winning novel.
When his casting was announced, the MC said it was a “dream come true” to feature in his “childhood hero’s book.” He also told the BBC that Naughts + Crosses was an “important” book.
The star has referenced Malorie Blackman’s success in his music before. On ‘Superheroes’ from last year’s Heavy Is The Head, he raps:
“Even though most times, we don’t deserve it
The picture isn’t pretty, but it’s perfect
Tedious pressures, so then I curve it
Serena or Venus, the way I serve it
I’m Malorie Blackman, the way I sell books
I jump on the stage, and then the world looks
All that banging’ on my door, had my girl shook
Now sorry officer, I only sell hooks”
The successful book had previously been turned into an award-winning stage play by the Royal Shakespeare Company and toured the UK beginning February 2008.
The novel has spawned a series, with four more books from Blackmore set in the same universe. There is no word yet on whether these sequels will be picked up by the BBC, but we’d love to see it happen.
The novel encapsulates themes of racism, sexism and power-dynamics and has won various awards since its publication, including the Red House Children’s Book Award in 2002. In 2019, The Guardian ranked Naughts + Crosses as #88 in the best books of the 21st century list.
Naughts + Crosses premieres Thursday March 5th on BBC One.
Featured image credit: BBC