Brand-new BBC Drama will be Filmed and Set in Coventry
Launched in an urban school, Phoenix Rise is a 10-part series following the stories of six ‘underdog’ students navigating their way back into mainstream education.
Written and executive-produced by Perrie Balthazar (Coronation Street, Ackley Bridge, Bad Sisters) and Matt Evans (Riviera, A Discovery of Witches, EastEnders), the cast consists of up-and-coming teenage actors and actresses, largely sourced from the West Midlands.
When asked why the producers chose Coventry, Evans responded: “It’s a city we knew really well.”
With both Balthazar and Evans from the Midlands originally and Coventry being chosen as something of a middle ground, Evans went on to say: “This show is about resilience, triumphing over adversity, and it just felt like nothing encapsulates that better than Coventry.”
The main storyline of Phoenix Rise tackles unlikely friendships in the face of opposition and ridicule from other students over their backgrounds and reputations.
The BBC describes it as “the opportunity to rise up from the ashes and prove that sometimes, being an outsider means belonging to the best club of all.”
Really this is about finding your voice, stepping out from the crowd, and showing that you’re not the person that you are perceived to be
– Perrie Balthazar, Writer and Executive Producer
Inspired by their own childhoods, Evans said: “I think we were naturally part of the gang at school who didn’t quite fit in. We wanted to give characters who don’t really feature in school shows like this a voice.”
Jayden Hanley, who plays Darcy in the series, said: “The show’s about giving a voice to those who aren’t heard, it’s about showing diversity and second chances.
“I think school can be quite a daunting place for lots of people and I think that this shows them that sanctuary can be found at school.”
Tackling topics like isolation following the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and mental health, Balthazar notes one of the show’s principal themes: “These kids are all put in a box, they’ve all got a label around their neck saying ‘trouble’.
“Really this is about finding your voice, stepping out from the crowd, and showing that you’re not the person that you are perceived to be.”
Phoenix Rise is available on BBC iPlayer from Tuesday 21 March and airs at 7pm on Friday 24 March on BBC Three.