Open main menu

The Long Song is a three-part BBC television serial, which is an adaption of Andrea Levy's 2010 novel of the same name. It premiered on BBC One on 18 December 2018. Produced by Heyday Television, its three episodes were adapted by Sarah Williams and directed by Mahalia Belo. The story is set in early-nineteenth-century colonial Jamaica, focusing on the final years of slavery on the island, and the transition to freedom that took place after its abolition in 1833. It follows the life of July (Tamara Lawrance), a slave on a sugarcane plantation. Hayley Atwell plays Caroline Mortimer, the owner of the plantation, who eventually marries an idealistic overseer, Robert Goodwin (Jack Lowden). The cast also included Jordan Bolger, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Gordon Brown, Ayesha Antoine, Leo Bill, Sir Lenny Henry, and Madeleine Mantock in supporting roles.[1][2]

The adaption explores many of the book's themes, including British colonialism, slavery, racism, violence and love. It received generally favourable reviews from critics. The Guardian's Lucy Mangan awarded it four stars out of five, calling it "a beautiful, moving, horrifying adaption of [July's] unsimple tale, that honours the source and its subject".[3] The Independent offered similar praise in a four-out-of-five-star review, which called it a "moving reminder of the cruelty of slavery".[4] Stuart McGurk in GQ praised the acting, characterisation and story, but found the narration distracting and unnecessary.[5] For a review in The Radio Times, Eleanor Bley Griffiths concluded that "With wonderful acting from Lawrance and Atwell, a brilliant story from Andrea Levy, and sensitive screenwriting from Sarah Williams, this drama may be airing right at the end of the year – but it truly deserves a spot on the list of best dramas of 2018."[6]


  1. ^ "The Long Song", BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  2. ^ "The Long Song: Character descriptions", BBC Media Centre. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  3. ^ Lucy Mangan, "The Long Song review - a sharp, painful look at the last days of slavery", The Guardian, 18 December 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  4. ^ Sean O'Grady, "The Long Song review: A moving reminder of the cruelty of slavery", The Independent, 18 December 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  5. ^ Stuart McGurk, "The Long Song: Good drama, shame about the voiceover", GQ, 18 December 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  6. ^ Eleanor Bley Griffiths, "Why you should watch hilarious and heartbreaking BBC1 slavery drama The Long Song", The Radio Times, 20 December 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2019.

External linksEdit