The order comes after an award-winning pilot last year and four years after creator Adjani Salmon released his original short-form online series of the same name through the BBC. The series will air in 2023, with indie film studio A24 selling it internationally.
The pilot’s producer Big Deal Films (Coconut, Holier Than Thou) is co-producing the six-part series, which comes from Salmon, whose pilot last year won him a BAFTA Craft Award for Emerging Talent: Fiction and the Royal Television Society’s 2022 Breakthrough Award among others. That was adapted from Salmon and Ali Hughes’ web series, which launched in 2018 on BBC Three when it was an online-only service.
Loosely inspired by real life events, Dreaming Whilst Black follows aspiring filmmaker Kwabena (Salmon) in and out of reality as he tries to make it in ‘Babylon.’ As per the synopsis: “The problem is he’s broke, Black and born into a Jamaican family who wishes he was an accountant.”
“When we made the web series we wanted to be ‘di bes ting pon di intanet,’” said Salmon. “With all the support we now have, we want to make “di bes ting pon BBC TV,” pun intended.”
Tanya Qureshi, Head of Comedy at the BBC, said: “We are sure it won’t come as a surprise that BBC Comedy wanted to take this wonderful project to series. Its success and recognition speaks for itself. It is a testament to the work that Big Deal Films and co-writers Adjani and Ali have done, that it has attracted such a strong partner in A24. We can’t wait to bring the series to UK audiences later next year.”
Co-Executive Producer Dhanny Joshi, Big Deal Films’ Managing Director, said: “The response we’ve received from audiences who continue to discover the Dreaming Whilst Black pilot is one of the most deeply rewarding experiences we’ve shared. To hear viewers express how the show made them ‘feel seen’ has been inspirational, and we’re so grateful to the team at BBC Comedy and A24 for making the series a reality.”
Jon Petrie, Director of Comedy Commissioning at the BBC and Fiona Campbell, Controller BBC Three, ordered the series. Exec producers are Joshi, Thomas Stogdon and Salmon, and the series will be directed by Jermain Julien and Joelle Mae David. Nicola Gregory is the producer and Qureshi the commissioning editor.
The original web series came from Salmon, Max Evans, Laura de Sousa Seixas and Natasha Jatania of 4 Quarters Films.
Strategic advice and commercial support was provided by former BBC commercial boss Bal Samra of Bizet Media, which is an investor in Big Deal. CAA represents Big Deal in the U.S. and brokered the partnership with A24.