Russell T Davies is having a big year: not only does he return to helm Doctor Who later in 2023 after 13 years of absence (alongside David Tennant), but he’s also got a very different project, Nolly, arriving on ITVX in just a few weeks’ time.
The launch of ITVX has seen a string of big-name actors including the aforementioned Tennant along with Damien Lewis and Guy Pearce anchoring its shows, a trend that’s continuing with Nolly. Harry Potter and The Crown star Helena Bonham Carter is playing the role of Noele Gordon, who appeared in the classic soap Crossroads before being axed- despite being the most popular character on the show.
The show chronicles how Noele, known as Nolly by those close to her, was one of the biggest figures on British TV, and suddenly found herself having to find her footing again after her firing which came seemingly from nowhere. Davies was drawn to the idea of a TV series about “The Queen of the Midlands” since he’d been a fan of Crossroads, and felt Gordon’s story had been forgotten: “She was literally one of the most famous people in Britain. She was hugely famous and she was suddenly mercilessly axed overnight – they didn’t even take her out to lunch to discuss it”, the writer told Radio Times. “it’s about the mechanics of TV and the whims of TV and the cruelty of it, but in the end the love of it.”
The writer also spoke of how the series reflects on how women in the industry are treated, “We’re fortunate in this day and age that Me Too stories are coming out and are being said, but I think they only scratch the surface. The problems that women have with men are not only sexual problems.”
Obviously, Bonham Carter is the star draw, but the rest of the cast features talent like Mark Gatiss (who collaborated with Davies on several episodes of Doctor Who) as Larry Grayson, an iconic comedian and TV presenter of the 70s, The Rings of Power’s Augustus Prew as Tony Adams one of Nolly’s friends and co-stars, along with Atonia Bernath (Downton Abbey), Clare Foster (The Crown) and Lloyd Griffith (Ted Lasso).
The first look trailer shows a snippet of a scene showing Nolly preparing for a press conference, and being advised to say only that she had decided to leave the show- but ignoring him, the actress declares “Gentlemen, I’ve been sacked.” The drama will be in three parts, with all three released simultaneously.