Britain’s leading lady of the TV action thriller, Keeley Hawes, is back.
The star of “Bodyguard” returns in “Crossfire,” another nail-biting thriller for the BBC in which Hawes plays a holidaymaker whose sunbathing session on her hotel balcony becomes a nightmare when shots ring out across the complex, turning her world upside down.
The scenario will remind audiences of her turn as the U.K. home secretary alongside Richard Madden’s bodyguard in the eponymous BBC drama, which became a global hit when it was picked up by Netflix.
The setting for “Crossfire,” however, is a far cry from London’s Westminster, instead set at a luxury resort in the Canary Islands.
Produced by Fremantle’s Dancing Ledge Productions (“The Salisbury Poisonings”), the drama is the first original series from author Louise Doughty, who previously adapted her novel “Apple Tree Yard” for a hugely popular BBC limited series.
Dancing Ledge executive producer Chris Carey made “Apple Tree Yard” with Doughty in 2017, and struck up a friendship that eventually led to the development of “Crossfire,” which, in a first for Doughty, wasn’t based on pre-existing source material.
“I was quickly convinced that she would be able to translate her formidable literary talents across to screenwriting and persuaded her to dip a toe in the water and asked her what she wanted to write about,” Carey tells Variety.
“The idea she came back with was ‘Crossfire,’ and I was immediately intrigued. When I joined [CEO Laurence Bowen] at Dancing Ledge, the first person I wanted him to meet and [whose work I wanted him to read] was Louise. He felt exactly the same and shared my excitement at working with such a brilliant talent.”
The show is a rare co-production between the BBC and Spanish free-to-air broadcaster TVE — a deal that was struck by distributor Fremantle, which has a majority stake in Dancing Ledge — in association with Buddy Club Productions.
Carey and Bowen explain over email that the producers worked closely with Rebecca Dundon and Al de Azpiazu at Fremantle who co-financed “Crossfire” with the BBC and are distributing the show.
“They introduced us to TVE,” the producers explain. “’Crossfire’ is set in Spain and we filmed most of it in Tenerife so TVE felt like a natural partner. They’ve been really supportive all the way through production.”
The show is so far positioned as a one-off limited series, “but who knows?” says Carey and Bowen. “Maybe we’ll see Keeley’s character Jo Cross again.”
Hawes, they say, is “one of the very best actors out there.”
“She’s incredibly talented and a brilliant lead who audiences love. She brings a truth and a wonderful eye for detail and has a sort of empathy superpower. You just feel what she’s feeling when you watch her and that makes her an incredible central point of view for any drama,” add the producers.
“Crossfire” will also star Josette Simon (“Small Axe”), Anneika Rose (“Deadwater Fell”), Lee Ingleby (“The A Word”), Daniel Ryan (“The Bay”), Vikash Bhai (“The Stranger”), Hugo Silva (“Nasdrovia”), Alba Brunet (“Operation Mincemeat”), Shalisha James-Davis (“Alex Rider”) and Ariyon Bakare (“His Dark Materials”).
The series is directed by Tessa Hoffe (“Kin”), and produced by Alex Mercer (“Inside Man”). It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, BBC chief content officer, and Piers Wenger, the former director of BBC drama who is now at A24.
Watch a trailer for “Crossfire” below:
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