Mar 18, 2023

New BBC drama adapted from Bernardine Evaristo novel will star Lennie James

A novel by Bernardine Evaristo is being adapted by the BBC into a new drama called Mr Loverman.

Fear The Walking Dead star Lennie James is starring in the adaption – which explores Britain's older Caribbean community – as 70-year-old Barrington Jedidiah Walker.

The eight-part BBC One show, adapted by Nathaniel Price, is described as a "life-affirming story about family, love, and being true to yourself" and a look at "aspirations and regret, parenthood, and social expectations about sexual orientation and love".

Booker Prize-winning author Evaristo said: "I am thrilled that Mr Loverman is being adapted into television drama.

"I love the idea of them stepping beyond the pages of the novel and into people's living rooms and lives."

The 64-year-old writer, who wrote Girl, Woman, Other, made history in 2021 when she was announced as the second woman and first writer of colour to be appointed president of the Royal Society of Literature.

Her other works, The Emperor's Babe and Hello Mum, were adapted for BBC Radio 4.

Screenwriter Price, who has written for the BBC comedy series The Outlaws, said Evaristo's novel is "not only a beautiful, truthful story, full deeply human characters, it is a vitally important one".

He added: "It is unflinching in its challenge of cultural myths and stereotypes, and an exhibition of just how deep and far-reaching the consequences of prejudice and fear can be."

Mr Loverman sees Antiguan-born and exuberant Hackney personality Barrington, called Barry by his friends, known for his fondness of retro suits, contend with the cheating suspicions of his wife of 50 years, Carmel.

He is then faced with a choice as he continues to engage in a secret affair with his best friend and soulmate, Morris.

James, 57, who is known for The Walking Dead and Save Me, said: "I can't wait to get Barrington's swagger on and help tell this crucial and complicated love story.

"As funny as it is sad. As full of heart as it is heartache."

Filming of Mr Loverman will begin later this year, with further casting to be announced in due course.