Best Interests is one of the most highly anticipated TV series of 2023, bringing together the screen talents of Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen with the writing skills of Bafta-winner Jack Thorne (The Virtues, His Dark Materials).

The thought-provoking four-part drama explores a choice no parent would ever want to make, as doctors tells Andrew (Sheen) and Nicci (Horgan) that they think it’s in the best interests of their daughter Marnie, who has a life-threatening condition, that she be allowed to die.

As the series takes us though the legal process for Andrew and Nicci as they fight the medical verdict, the programme will explore big moral dilemmas about who decides when someone is allowed to die and in whose ‘best interests’ we base decisions on?

Writer Jack Thorne said: "Best Interests cases are both compelling and revealing. Our country has a very troubled relationship with disability and these cases put a spotlight on that.

“But our drama is first and foremost a love story and it needs incredible actors to bring it to life. Sharon Horgan and Michael Sheen lead a company of ridiculous talents that pull you into the most interesting of places.”

The four-part series is directed by Michael Keillor (Roadkill, Strike).

Here is everything you need to know about Best Interests…

Best Interests plot – What is the series about?

The BBC synopsis for the series is as follows:

This is a story of a family driven apart by having to make choices no parent would ever want to make.

Andrew and Nicci’s daughter, Marnie, has a life-threatening condition. The doctors believe it is in her best interests to be allowed to die, but her loving family disagree. And so begins a fight that will take them through every stage of a legal process, as they struggle to contemplate this huge decision. Who decides? And in whose best interests will it be?

Writer Jack Thorne explained: "As a parent of a three year old I've looked at the cases in the media about 'best interests' with some fascination and a little dread.

"When the worst happens, how do you keep your head when everything around you feels wrong? We are going to try and tell a nuanced story that talks about this issue from all sides."

BBC drama’s Piers Wenger described the series as a "heart-breaking story" about "two parents' experience when faced with their worst nightmare".

"Jack Thorne's talent for tackling the most complex and challenging real-life stories with consideration, wisdom and vision will make this a series to remember," said Wenger.

Sophie Gardiner from producers Chapter One Pictures added: "We are delighted and proud that the first commission for Chapter One Pictures is a Jack Thorne project of such calibre, and thrilled for it to be on BBC One.

"Jack writes these important stories of our time with such compassion, wit and intelligence; it’ll be a privilege for us to help bring it to life."

Who is writer Jack Thorne?

TV writer Jack Throne at an awards cermony Lev Radin/Shutterstock

Jack Thorne is a playwright, TV writer and producer, who most famously wrote the stage play for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the movie Wonder.

His TV writing credits include His Dark Materials, National Treasure, Skins, Glue, The Fades, This England and The Virtues.

He also worked on the Netflix movies Enola Holmes and The Swimmers.

Thorne is a passionate advocate for the disabled community after developing the skin disease cholinergic urticaria in his 20s.

He once presented the MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh TV festival, where he was highly critical for the TV industry’s treatment of people with disabilities.

“TV has failed disabled people. Utterly and totally,” he said.

Best Interests release date

It has been confirmed that Best Interests will air later this year on BBC One and iPlayer.

Best Interests cast list

  • Michael Sheen (Good Omens, Quiz) - Plays Andrew
  • Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe, Together) - Plays Nicci
  • Alison Oliver (Conversations With Friends) - Plays Katie
  • Niamh Moriarty (Jack Thorne’s A Christmas Carol) – Plays Marnie
  • Noma Dumezweni (The Undoing) - Plays Samantha
  • Chizzy Akudolu (Holby City) - Plays Mercy
  • Des McAleer (Hope Street) - Plays Eddie
  • Mat Fraser (His Dark Materials) – Plays Greg
  • Gary Beadle (Grantchester) - Plays Frank
  • Jack Morris (Strike) - Plays Tom
  • Pippa Haywood (Bodyguard) - Plays Judge Spottiswood
  • Shane Zaza (Happy Valley) - Plays Fred
  • Lucian Msamati (Gangs Of London) - Plays Derek
  • Lisa McGrillis (Mum) - Plays Brenda
Sharon Horgan in Channel 4 comedy This Way Up Channel 4
Sharon Horgan in Channel 4 comedy This Way Up

Talking about the moving series, Sharon Horgan said: "Best Interests broke me when I first read the script and then again after talking with Jack about it.

“Covid seems to have shone a closer light on the desperate inequalities that exist for our disabled community so this felt very timely. It’s a big subject but it’s in Jack Thorne and Michael Keillor’s safe hands. I’m thrilled to be working on this story with a super talented cast, the wonderful Michael Sheen and Noma Dumezweni, and my gorgeous daughters Alison Oliver and Niamh Moriarty.”

Michael Sheen added: “Jack Thorne is such an extraordinary writer and he has approached this incredibly important and urgent subject with humanity, honesty and humour.

“I feel very fortunate to be part of this production and to work with the brilliant Sharon Horgan and some of the most talented actors around.”

Watch Best Interests later this year on BBC One and iPlayer.

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