EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is to shine a spotlight on one of the UK’s biggest environmental scandals, the Corby poisonings, via a drama series starring Sex Education’s Aimee Lou Wood, departing Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker and Robert Carlyle.
Rory Kinnear and Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey) have also boarded Toxic Town, which is being penned by His Dark Materials writer Jack Thorne and tells of the scandalous toxic waste spillages in Corby and the ensuing legal battle that has been dubbed the ‘British Erin Brokovich.’ Production will commence later this month in the UK under an Equity contract, meaning the show will not fall foul of the U.S. labor strikes.
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The four-part series comes from Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ Netflix-backed Black Mirror producer Broke & Bones, with Jones set to EP alongside Thorne and director Minkie Spiro (Better Call Saul).
Toxic Town follows the tragic toxic waste case in the East Midlands and three mothers’ “David and Goliath fight for justice.” Following the closure of one of the largest steelworks in Europe in the mid-1980s, the council demolished the site as part of a program of urban regeneration, which involved transporting waste through populated areas via open lorries. In the late-1980s and early-1990s, the rates of upper limb defects in babies born in Corby were subsequently found to be three times higher than those of children born in the surrounding area, and 18 families filed a lawsuit that eventually ended up victorious in the UK’s High Court in 2009. A settlement was reached a year later.
Thorne, who penned similar Channel 4 series The Accident, labeled the case a “defining moment in history.”
“It showed our ability to close our eyes and ears to the safety of our people,” he added. “It also showed the remarkable way that people will fight for what’s right.”
Jones described writer Thorne as the “voice of a generation, bringing an intelligence, intensity and empathy to the human story behind the landmark case.” Toxic Town producer is Delyth Scudamore. Thorne wrote all episodes and co-wrote episode three with Amy Trigg.
The streamers, who are on a U.S. commissioning hiatus due to the strikes, have shown a penchant of late to order contemporary UK true crime shows. Disney+ is making a Jeff Pope-penned drama about Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazillian national shot in the UK as police hunted down a group of terrorists, while it has also ordered a show based on Alex Dahl’s parents-worst-nightmare novel Playdate.
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