Sir Lenny Henry is to write a new six-part ITV drama inspired by his mother’s experiences of leaving Jamaica in the 1950’s to come and live in Great Britain.
Three Little Birds narrates the adventures of gregarious sisters Leah and Chantrelle, who hail from St Anne’s district in Jamaica, and their virtuous, bible-loving acquaintance, Hosanna as they board a cruise ship heading for a new life.
On arriving in London’s Notting Hill they quickly realise the capital is not the home for them and flee to the Midlands.
The road ahead is not a smooth one for our trio, and although we learn some shocking truths about the lives they left behind in Jamaica, we will also cheer them on to succeed, as they overcome the obstacles of racism and integration and build a life in Britain.
The series will be produced by Sir Lenny’s production company, Douglas Road Productions, in association with Tiger Aspect Productions. Both companies are part of the Banijay UK group.
Henry has been working in consultation with scriptwriter Russell T Davies and both will serve as executive producers on the drama alongside Angela Ferreira from Douglas Road Productions and Tiger Aspect’s Head of Drama, Lucy Bedford.
Sir Lenny commented: “My mother spoke often about how difficult life was back in the day when she first arrived in Britain to begin her new life.
“The stories she told and indeed the narratives my brothers and sisters beguiled me with over the dinner table made me think about writing a fictional account of three Caribbean women; all with differing yet complementary attributes – a serious tenacious one, a quick witted flibbertigibbet and a Christian prude.
“They all get to the UK with one thing on their minds – a new life.
“Although these are fictional accounts, my mother’s narrative will run throughout these stories and hopefully, the stories of other post Windrush arrivals will trigger memories, smiles and tears too.
“It is my privilege to work with Russell T. Davies and Tiger Aspect on these stories. For me, a life-long dream has come true. This series will be a tribute to the giants who came before us and walked cold streets to create new lives for themselves.”
ITV Drama boss Polly Hill added: “I fell in love with Leah, Chantrelle and Hosanna the moment I read Lenny’s script and I think the audience will want to go on their journey with them.
“Lenny has written a funny and moving, but most of all life affirming drama, that is a tribute to his mother and all those who came to Britain and made it their home.”