Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Back in March open auditions, advertised on Screenterrier, were held in London and Glasgow for a new BBC drama Glasgow Girls.
Now the cast of the 60-minute factual and musical drama has been announced.
Waterloo Road star Kirstie Steele plays Jennifer, and Shetland star Erin Armstrong plays Emma, two of the local Glasgow teenagers, Roma refugee Agnesa is played by Identity Agency's Olivia Popica, Amal by My Brother The Devil's Letitia Wright, Aruhan Galieva (represented by Sally Hope Associates), a talented singer and musician plays Roza, Ewelina and Toni-Lee are played by newcomers Effie Scott and Kirsty Pickering.
The drama is based on the inspirational true story of a group of schoolgirls whose petition to save their friend from deportation inspired a movement, which would eventually help change immigration practices in Scotland.
When 15-year-old Agnesa Murselaj, a Roma from Kosovo, and pupil at Glasgow’s Drumchapel High, was taken by Immigration officers in a dawn raid, her friends refused to let her go without a fight. As she and her family awaited deportation at a detention centre in London, fellow pupils Amal, from Somalia; Roza, from Kurdistan; Ewelina, a Polish Roma; and local Drumchapel teenagers Emma, Jennifer and Toni-Lee, banded together to campaign for her release.
What started as a school petition grew into one of the most memorable human rights campaigns of a generation as they lobbied the Home Office, challenged the First Minister in public, and won the support of their community.
Gary Lewis plays Drumchapel High’s bilingual support teacher Euan Girvan, and Greg Hemphill takes on the role of First Minister of Scotland Jack McConnell.
The story of the girls’ campaign was originally captured in an Amnesty International award-winning BBC Scotland documentary in 2005 and has since inspired a stage musical. Now, this talented young cast will bring a whole new version of the Glasgow Girls story to life for the screen with contemporary musical moments enhancing the story and themes.
It was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Former Controller, BBC Three, who said: "Glasgow Girls is a thrilling blend of true story, high drama and musical storytelling. Only a channel like BBC Three would attempt to re-tell a hard hitting immigration story in this way."
The film was directed by Brian Welsh who co-wrote the script with Joe Barton, produced by Kate Cook for Minnow Films and is part of the BBC’s year-long contribution to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.