Endor Productions and Clearwood Films are to produce a major new feature-length drama for BBC One.
But When We Dance is a story about two people with lots in common – a great sense of humour, a love of dance, and that they both have Parkinson’s.
The drama has been commissioned by the BBC as part of the unveiling of a major new three-part plan, designed by the corporation to significantly improve representation of – and opportunities for – disabled people on and off air.
Paul Mayhew-Archer, who co-wrote Endor Productions’ Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench TV event feature Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot with Richard Curtis, has penned But When We Dance for BBC One.
Doctor Who and Westworld director Jonny Campbell is directing the 1×90’ drama, which is produced by Endor Productions (Vienna Blood, Deep State), and Clearwood Films, run by Ellie Wood (Bleak House). It will be produced by Hilary Bevan Jones and exec produced by Lucy Richer for the BBC, Paul Mayhew-Archer and Ellie Wood. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of Content and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama for BBC One.
Filming locations include the English National Ballet classes for people with Parkinson’s, where romance first blossoms for the film’s protagonists, Tony and Emma.
Parkinson’s UK estimate that every hour, two people in the UK are told they have Parkinson’s and around 145,000 people have Parkinson’s in the UK alone. Although onset of the disease tends to happen in later life, it can also affect people from their 30’s onwards.
Paul Mayhew-Archer said: “People with Parkinson’s are also funny and loving and irrepressibly optimistic, and I know this because I‘m one of them. When I was first diagnosed, my neurologist, who is a lovely man, told me: ‘You seem to find it quite hard to smile’. Well, I thought, maybe that’s because you’ve just told me I have Parkinson’s.”
Hilary Bevan Jones said: “But When We Dance is a captivating and unusual love story that Paul has written with warmth and wit. Tony and Emma have every reason not to fall in love – both live with a progressive disease that is currently incurable. But the experience of living with Parkinson’s can be mysterious as it can give as well as take away.”
Lucy Richer said: “Paul writes with honesty, humour and hope about an important subject which will impact on many of us in our lifetimes. We are very proud to tell this story on BBC One.”