Eliza Scanlan, Umi Myers, Eilidh Fisher and Geraldine James have also landed major parts in the series, which we first told you about the series back in March. At the time, our sources said the BBC sees Dope Girls as a spiritual successor to Peaky Blinders, which ended last year.
Filming on the show, which is set in London’s Soho in the early 20th century, when female gangs ran the clubs, drugs and moonshine, is now underway. It will launch on BBC One and BBC iPlayer, and comes from Polly (The Face, The Neon Demon) and Alex Warren (Eleanor).
Nicholson will play Kate Galloway, a single mother who establishes a nightclub amidst the hedonistic uproar of post-World War One London, embracing a life of criminal activities with the dedicated aim of providing for her daughter Evie, played by Fisher (The Power).
Scanlen (Little Women) will play Violet Davies, one of the first wave of female officers for the Metropolitan Police, who is assigned to go undercover and investigate the illicit world of underground Soho nightclubs. Myers (Bob Marley: One Love), plays Billie Cassidy, a dazzling bohemian dancer whose life is turned upside down by Kate’s arrival.
James (Silo) will also star as Isabella, the leader of the criminal Salucci family that also includes Rory Fleck Bryne (This Is Going To Hurt), Dustin said Demri-Burns (Slow Horses) and Sebastian Croft (Heartstopper) as Silvio Salucci.
Also cast are Michael Duke (Get Up Stand Up), Ian Bonar (I May Destroy You), Laura Checkley (Screw), Will Keen (His Dark Materials), Fiona Button (The Split), Harry Cadby (Everything Now), Eben Figueiredo (The Serial Killer’s Wife), Nabhaan Rizwan (Informer), Priya Kansara (Polite Society) and Jordan Kouamé (Malpractice).
Bad Wolf is producing in association with its parent company Sony Pictures Television, which has international sales rights. Stenham and Alex Warren are writing the show, which is inspired by Marek Kohn’s non-fiction book Dope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug Underground.
Shannon Murphy (Babyteeth, Killing Eve) has now been unveiled as lead director with Miranda Bowen (Women in Love) directing later episodes. Directors of Photography include Annika Summerson and Carlos Catalan, and Sherree Philips (Babyteeth) is production designer. Ado Yoshizaki Cassuto serves as producer. Casting is by Julie Harkin and Nathan Toth.
Writers Stenham and Warren and director Murphy will be executive producers alongside Bad Wolf’s Kate Crowther and Jane Tranter, Michael Lesslie (Assassin’s Creed) for Storyteller Productions and Rebecca Ferguson for the BBC. The project was developed and overseen by Bad Wolf Director of Content Dan McCulloch and Chief Creative Officer Ryan Rasmussen. Matthew Barry, who is also an EP, is an additional writer alongside Xiao Tang (You Killed My Robot) and Matthew Jacobs Morgan (The Rig).
Lindsay Salt, Director of BBC Drama, commissioned the series. “We can’t wait for viewers to discover the bold and brilliant Dope Girls,” she said. “Packed full of complex and electrifying characters from a fascinating time in Britain’s history, this will be must-see, ambitious drama.”
The project has been developed and overseen by Bad Wolf’s Director of Content, Dan McCulloch and Chief Creative Officer, Ryan Rasmussen.
“Dope Girls is quintessentially Bad Wolf,” said company co-founder Jane Tranter. “A viscerally thrilling drama that rides through the underbelly of organised crime in the early 20th Century with a uniquely female point of view. Polly and Alex’s visionary fictional take on Soho is as audacious as the world it portrays.”