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‘Esio Trot’ Writer Paul Mayhew-Archer Pens Parkinson’s Drama ‘But When We Dance’ For BBC One

Deadline — Peter White

Paul Mayhew-Archer, who co-wrote Dustin Hoffman and Judi Dench Roald Dahl adaptation Esio Trot with Richard Curtis, has penned a feature-length Parkinson’s drama for BBC One.

The British public broadcaster has commissioned But When We Dance, a story about two people with lots in common – a great sense of humour, a love of dance and they both have Parkinson’s. Filming locations include the English National Ballet classes for people with Parkinson’s where romance first blossoms for Tony and Emma. The disease is thought to afflict around 145,000 people in the UK alone.

Doctor Who and Westworld director Jonny Campbell is helming the 90-minute drama, which is produced by Red Arrow Studios-backed Endor Productions, which produces Fox Networks Group drama Deep State, and Clearwood Films, run by Ellie Wood, who has worked on shows such as 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 ordered by Charlotte Moore, Director of Content and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama for BBC One.

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.”

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.”

Richer added, “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.”

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