Brutal New Worlds order
Brutal New Worlds order

After capturing the bleak years of the 17th century English Civil War in their BAFTA award-winning historical drama The Devil's Whore, creators/writers Martine Brant and Peter Flannery felt compelled to revisit the gripping narrative they had created back in 2008.

What resulted was Channel 4's bloody and at times brutal four-part period drama, New Worlds - a story of love, loss and hope set against the backdrop of the infamous Restoration period.

It opens in the year 1680, a point in time where England had been under the reign of King Charles II for close to two decades.

Although remembered by many as the "pleasure-loving" king, the later years of Charles II's rule descended into repressive autocracy, driven by the fading hope that the restoration of the monarchy would bring stability to a kingdom broken by the remnants of the civil war.

It is these harrowing turn of events that Brant and Flannery, an award-winning playwright, wanted to explore in New Worlds.

"From 1680 onwards everyone was pleased to welcome back Charles II. He promised to heal the wounds and no prosecution," Brant said. "But in order to keep control of the government the regime turned into one of the most repressive that this country has ever known. Not a lot of people know that."

"There's a fascinating tension here when we came to write our drama," Flannery added. "It's a world where you'd be going to one of the new Restoration plays . . . walking past bodies in gibbets and heads on poles."

But, in paying homage to the real series of events, Flannery and Brant were mindful to create a balance between fact and fiction.

"We interwove real historical characters with fictional ones," Flannery said. "The effect, I hope, is that all feel equally real and true to their time."

"We feel an overwhelming obligation to be truthful to the history," Brant added. "We worked assiduously to ensure accuracy and authenticity."

Flitting between England and New England (where English Puritans had resettled in parts of Massachusetts), New Worlds follows the fight to restore freedom to those who have suffered under Charles II's vicious leadership.

This journey is captured through the eyes of four fierce young idealists - Abe, Beth, Hope and Ned - who rebel against the English monarchy and strive to cut all ties with the king.

Beth (Freya Mavor) is the privileged daughter of the aristocratic Countess of Abingdon Angelica Fanshawe, the fictional heroine from The Devil's Whore who makes a return in New Worlds, this time played by British actress Eve Best.

Although Beth has been kept sheltered by her mother, she grows intrigued with a young rugged renegade, Abe (Jamie Dornan, who is soon to be seen in Fifty Shades of Grey as bondage-practising billionaire Christian Grey).

After a bloody introduction, the pair embark on a star-crossed Romeo and Juliet-type relationship.

Meanwhile back in New England, another bond is developing when Ned (Joe Dempsie) is forced to join forces with the gun-toting, knife-wielding Puritan Hope (New Zealand- born actress Alice Englert, daughter of director Jane Campion).

Set amid the political chaos that ensued at the height of the Restoration period, Brant said the relationships between the four youngsters formed a poignant love story that underpinned the central narrative.

"New Worlds is the love story of four young people caught up in the timeless struggle of how to live a good life in an unjust world," Brant said. "It's about hope and idealism and the indomitable human spirit. It's about survival and how, in the final account, there is always love - not just for each other but for mankind."

Brant hopes that New Worlds also acts as a subtle message for younger generations about their power to make a difference.

"What we were trying to show is that the young can do this and they need to engage in their world," she said. "Politics, which is about the way you live your life, is indivisible from the way you love in your own life.

"There are all kinds of resonances in modern times for that. It's about young people making the world a better place for themselves and for others."

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Follow Us

More from The West