CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION
A sequel to the English Civil War drama The Devil's Whore finds the next generation fighting for justice on both sides of the Atlantic.
The rollicking 2008 period drama The Devil's Whore followed the fortunes of former court favorite Angelica Fanshawe and Leveller soldier Edward Sexby, played by Andrea Riseborough and John Simm, as 17th-century England was plunges into a bloody Civil War and became a Republic.
New comes a follow-up, New Worlds, also written by Peter Flannery and Martine Brant, which starts on Channel 4 on Tuesday. Set against the backdrop of the brutal regime that followed the restoration of the monarchy, the drama follows young idealists on both sides of the Atlantic fighting for a fairer future.
In England, Angelica's daughter Beth (Freya Mavor) has her eyes openes to the reality of life under Charles II (Jeremy Northam) when she is abducted the outlaw and idealist Abe (Jamie Dornan).
Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, colonist Ned (Joe Dempsie) and Hope (Alice Englert) find themselves on the frontline as they try to break freeof the control of the English crown and repel attacks from Native Americans.
Altough they are thousands of miles apart, both couples are fired by a sense of injustice.
"The Restoration period in the popular imagination is all about King Charles the merry monarch," says co-creator Martine Brant. "But these were very febrile times. The characters in New Worlds are the children of the people who had fought in the Civil War for a better world without kings and courts, where life would be more equal and just. They had it for 10 years, and it was all lost when king came back."
Although Charles II was initially welcomed back after the strictures of life under Oliver Cromwell's Puritan regime, it soon became evident that the restored monarch was not going to forgive and forget the execution of his father.
"He promised justice but,in order to keep control,the regime turned into one of the most repressive this country has ever known," Brant explains. "However, these were still people who wanted a realise the legacy of those brave people who had given their lives in the Civil War."
One such man is Abe, who gives Beth a rude awakening when he holds up at gunpoint the guests at her birthday party, including the illegitimate heir to the throne, the Duke of Monmouth (Tom Payne).
"Abe represents a desire for change and a sense of injustice," says actor Jamie Dornan, who recently finished filming Fifty Shades of Grey, in which he plays billionaire Christian Grey. "There's a sense things can't proceed the way they are, and that we can't have another Stuart on the throne ruling a tyrannical way. Abe shows his frustration through aggression and violence and is quick to use his fists."
Through her encounter with Abe, Beth finds herself changing, both personally and politically. "It takes Beth a while to grasp the seriousness of the situation," says Freya Mavor. "She's been living in a very sheltered environment, but through Abe she has an awakening and her eyes and her heart are opened to a whole new world. She's discovering herself a woman falling in love and developing a growing sense of justice."
Across the Atlantic, Ned and Hope are undergoing a similar re-education. "Ned's being groomed to take over his father's landowning business," explains Joe Dempsie. "But the seeds of doubt begin to be sown in his mind and his conscience starts to get the better of him."
"He and Hope are both the original young Americans," adds Alice Englert. "At the beginning, she is driven by her Puritan religion, but then she realises that the world is much more complicated. It's an exploration of why the American Dream has its faults because it was built on something that was so fundamentally wrong."
For the writers, the link between the personal and political is central to the drama. "Politics, which is the way you live your life, is indivisible from the way you love," says Brant. "They can't be separated out and it's the young who have to engage with their world and change it. New Worlds is about those young people making the world a better place for themselves and others to live in."