British soaps are best known for their low-brow campiness, ridiculous melodrama, and wide-ranging ensembles of wooden, but nonetheless beloved, stars. They’ve also been marred by scandals for as long as they’ve existed, with performers unceremoniously fired myriad times. Now, Helena Bonham Carter is set to step into the shoes of one of the U.K.’s forgotten soap stars, Noele Gordon, in a new limited series from Doctor Who and Queer as Folk writer Russell T. Davies and producer Nicola Schindler.
Nolly, commissioned by British broadcaster ITV, “looks at the reign and fall from grace of [the] TV legend,” according to Variety, who notes that she was a “mainstay on long-running ITV soap opera Crossroads for 18 years until she was unceremoniously fired with no explanation.” There are innumerous theories as to why Gordon was fired from the show, with the dominant one pointing to the studio behind the soap wanting to ax it – the thought being that, with her gone, fans would exodus, giving them a valid excuse to cancel.
In the words of Schindler:
“What’s extraordinary is that this woman was at the absolute peak of the powers – and this was the biggest show in the country – and she was fired without any kind of explanation, and without any kind of right to respond. […] In a post #MeToo world, it’s fantastic to look at the theories and to examine what she [went through] at the tme, and the way that she was treated, and how that was acceptable.”
Davies certainly feels like the perfect choice for a series about the backstage disputes in British broadcasting: he’s a veteran of the scene himself, after all, having manned the likes of Queer as Folk, Doctor Who, and Years & Years before receiving international acclaim this year with the gut-punching AIDS drama It’s a Sin. “One of my very first jobs in TV was a trial script for Crossroads, and I’ve wanted to write the story of behind the scenes on that show for 40 years,” he said. “At last, the truth can be told!”
Bonham Carter is most recently recognizable for her turn in The Crown as Princess Margaret. “Noele Gordon was a fascinating, complex, brilliant and gutsy woman,” said Bonham Carter. “I’m so thrilled to help tell Nolly‘s long overdue and largely forgotten story. Russell’s screenplay is a work of brilliance and I hope I’ll do him and Nolly justice.”
Nolly is the latest collaboration between Davies and Schindler, who also worked together on It’s a Sin and Years & Years, along with classics of the RTD-verse like Cucumber, Banana, and Queer as Folk. There is currently no release date for Nolly.