‘Jamestown’ debuts on Friday, a period drama from the makers of ‘Downton Abbey’, tagged as a Jacobean Western, set in the formidable New World.
Intrigued? Here’s all you need to know…
What is ‘Jamestown’ about?
Set in the 17th century, it follows the lives of three women as they wrestle with the challenges of creating a new life in a foreign land. On the edge of the breathtaking but untamed Virginian wilderness, sits the English colony of Jamestown.
The settlement barely survived its first decade but is on the brink of change summoned by the arrival of a new governor, Yeardley, and 100 so-called ‘maids to make brides’ – a bid from the presiding Virginia Company to establish the town as a prosperous place for all.
Yeardley also brings with him a charter, granting land to the earliest settlers in reward for their loyalty, but new laws cause power struggles within the town and with the native inhabitants.
Who’s in the cast?
Three spirited women are among those making it to land for an unknown future. They include:
Verity (Niamh Walsh)
Verity arrives in Jamestown seeking deliverance from her troubled past, so when faced with Meredith Rutter the tavern keeper as a husband, she fears she’s made a terrible mistake in leaving England. Rebellious, unabashed and vehemently opposed to injustice, Verity finds herself in conflict with the authorities of the town due to her outspoken nature.
Alice (Sophie Rundle)
Alice, a farm girl from Norfolk, isn’t fazed by her challenging new home. When she suffers an unspeakable torment at the hand of her intended husband, she has to seek justice in a world weighted against her and all women. Betrothed to the unflinching Henry Sharrow, Alice’s prospects look bleak, but she finds a reason to carry on.
Jocelyn (Naomi Battrick)
Jocelyn is of higher social standing than most of the women and is perhaps the wiliest in all of Jamestown. Sophisticated, but with an unseemly thirst for power, she won’t let the patriarchy spoil her plans to get ahead. Her acerbic tongue hides a vulnerability and a secret which threatens to be her undoing.
Henry (Max Beesley)
Henry Sharrow, Alice’s intended husband, is one of the Ancients – the first settlers to lay claim to land in Virginia. A diligent and hard-working man, he protected his younger brothers through the darkest times in Jamestown’s early history.
Samuel (Gwilym Lee)
Samuel Castell, Jocelyn’s husband, holds a revered position as company recorder. He is respected for his diligence and admired for his kind manners, meaning the more calculating inhabitants of the town underestimate him
Silas (Stuart Martin)
Silas Sharrow was one of the first settlers. He has grown from boy to man on this land, and has known little but deference and hard work. When Alice arrives in Jamestown, a rift emerges in his family and he has to learn the true meaning of sacrifice.
What are the prospects?
As proved with their six years of ‘Downton Abbey’, the production team know how to make a hit. And ‘Jamestown’ has already had a second series commissioned, before the first one has made it to air.
When is ‘Jamestown’ on?
The series starts at 9pm on Sky 1, on Friday 5 May.