BBC One’s upcoming newspaper drama Press was forced to change a terror attack storyline after a genuine attack occurred on a London tube.
Speaking at the show’s screening Press star Charlotte Riley revealed that an original storyline involving a tube ‘bucket bomb’ was axed following the September 2017 Parsons Green train bombing.
“There were one or two storylines that we filmed that then actually happened in real life, so they didn’t make the cut. We couldn’t then use them because they were too close to reality.
“We ended up cutting that out because it had literally just happened. ‘There were others too. When things from the script kept happening in real life I thought, ‘What is going on here?'” Riley explained.
“That was quite fascinating. But it made me think the writer was a witch of some kind,” she added.
Press, starring Ben Chaplin, Charlotte Riley and Priyanga Burford, explores the unflinching, fast-paced world and personal lives of the journalists working at two fictional national newspapers.
The Herald, clearly based on The Guardian strives for social justice and promotes left-wing ideology, while The Post is an amalgam of The Mirror and The Sun and goes after the salacious and clickbait.
Press creator and writer Mike Bartlett (Doctor Foster, Trauma), said he envisions the show as a ‘West Wing for papers’ and that he strived to portray an accurate version of the turmoil within the British national newspaper industry:
“The heart of it is getting to know characters in the workplace and then in terms of the news industry it is about increasing change. As the show goes on it is shown as an industry that has been the same for a long time and that now cannot stay the same and has to change,” Bartlett said.
Indeed both Bartlett and the actors researched national newspapers, with several spending time in the offices of The Daily Mirror and The Guardian.
Riley said she now has a newfound respect for journalists, “I was quite shocked at how effected and tough the job is and how it effects the journalist’s life. It’s not just the work life – they really do take their jobs home.
On a personal level it is quite different now meeting a journalist. Unfortunately for jounralists I am completely intrigued by them!” she said.
Press starts on BBC One at 9pm Thursday September 6.