The three-part drama comes 40 years after Noele Gordon’s shock sacking from Crossroads.
Nolly will explore the all-powerful reign, and fall from grace, of the inimitable Noele Gordon, TV legend and Queen of the Midlands, the darling of the establishment until it turned on her and betrayed her.
Noele, or Nolly to her friends, was a legend in her own lifetime. As flame-haired widow Meg Richardson in the long-running soap opera Crossroads, she was one of the most famous people in Britain.
Then in 1981, at the height of the show’s success and the peak of Nolly’s fame, she was axed without ceremony, without warning and with no explanation. With the boss’s words “all good things must come to an end” ringing in her ears, Noele Gordon found herself thrown out of the show that was her life for over 18 years.
Nolly promises to bring the true Noele Gordon once more into the spotlight. The Queen of the Midlands, a star who could be tough, haughty and imperious, grandly sweeping into rehearsals from her Rolls Royce, but also a hard-working actress who was fiercely loyal and loved by cast and crew alike.
And at last, the biggest question of all can be answered – why was she sacked? Nolly promises to reveal the truth, the consequences, and the legacy of that terrible day.
A bold exploration of how the establishment turns on women who refuse to play by the rules, the women it cannot understand and the women it fears, Nolly is being described as a love letter to a legend of television, and to the madcap soap, she starred in.
Nolly promises to be an outrageously fun and wildly entertaining ride through Noele Gordon’s most tumultuous years, and a sharp, affectionate and heartbreaking portrait of a forgotten icon.
Taking on the role of Noelle Gordon is Helena Bonham Carter who said "Noele Gordon was a fascinating, complex, brilliant and gutsy woman – none of which I knew before I read Russell T Davies’ script. I’m so thrilled to help tell Nolly’s long overdue and largely forgotten story. Russell’s screenplay is a work of brilliance and I hope I’ll do him and Nolly justice. I can’t wait to start."
Commissioned for ITV by Head of Drama, Polly Hill, she said "Russell’s scripts are magnificent and a great tribute to Noele Gordon, but also to our national love of soaps and a celebration of the incredible women they create. Helena Bonham Carter is going to be amazing as Nolly and we can’t wait for her to step into those shoes."
The series will be produced by Quay Street Productions, marking the first drama under Nicola Shindler’s new production banner with ITV Studios.
Speaking about the project, Nicola Shindler said "I couldn’t be prouder or more excited that the first drama we will be filming for Quay Street Productions is this beautiful script by Russell T Davies. And that Helena Bonham Carter will star as such an iconic British woman is dream casting."
And finally, Russel T Davies added "One of my very first jobs in TV was a trial script for Crossroads, and I've wanted to write the story of behind the scenes on that show for 40 years. At last, the truth can be told!"
Nolly will go into production in 2022, executive produced by Nicola Shindler, directed by Peter Hoar and produced by Karen Lewis.
Nolly will air on ITV