Three Little Birds cast: Meet the up and coming stars of new ITV drama written by Sir Lenny Henry and inspired by his mother’s move from Jamaica to Great Britain in the 1950s
Heartfelt British Windrush drama Three Little Birds is set to air on TV with its first series on Sunday, October, 22.
Launching at 8pm on ITV1, the new show, which is set in 1957, will see three young women leaving Jamaica to set sail for a new life in the UK.
The plot, written by Sir Lenny Henry, is inspired by his mother’s stories about leaving the Caribbean island for Great Britain.
The spirited series, which is led by rising stars Rochelle Neil and Yazmin Belo, is produced by Tiger Aspect in association with Douglas Road.
Rochelle and former EastEnders star Saffron Coomber star as gregarious sisters Leah and Chantrelle, who convince their bible-loving acquaintance Hosanna – Yazmin – to join them on their adventure across the globe as a potential wife for their brother Aston Brahms – Javone Prince.
New show: Heartfelt British Windrush drama Three Little Birds is set to air on TV with its first series on Sunday, October, 22
Rochelle Neil as Leah Whittaker
Rochelle Neil, 34, stars as the lead role Leah Whittaker who is one of two sisters who is persuaded by their brother to leave home.
Lead: Rochelle Neil, 34, stars as the lead role Leah Whittaker who is one of two sisters who is persuaded by their brother to leave home
She risks leaving her family and friends behind in Jamaica after her brother, Aston Brahms, asks her to bring him a wife and build a new life in Britain for her children.
Running out on her abusive husband, Leah packs her three children off to live with her mother.
Spurred on by her determination to be reunited with her little ones, she reinvents her self in her new community in the West Midlands.
Rochelle says the ITV drama is her ‘exact lineage’ and has learnt a lot about Jamaica from her parents.
She said: ‘It’s one of the first scripts I’ve ever read where I thought, ‘This is my family’s story.’
‘My dad was born in Jamaica and his mum and dad came over and then the kids arrived two years later. So they spent two years setting up home here.
‘One of my dad’s earliest memories is the lights at Heathrow. He was about five and he doesn’t really remember his life in Jamaica.
‘My mum was born here, but it was the same thing. My nan came over with a friend, my Auntie Bernice, and my Auntie Tiny, her older sister. It’s insane how similar their stories are to Three Little Birds. It’s like my exact lineage.
‘My dad’s mum also wrote her memoirs, so I’ve had so much firsthand about her life in Jamaica growing up in the culture and going to church. She trained to be a seamstress as well.’
Rochelle is best know for her role as Annie Carbey in the TV series The Nevers.
She has also starred in Terminator: Dark Fate as a co-pilot, Yvonne in Guilt and Cassandra Lloyd in Das Boot.
Her very first work on screen was as a school girl in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
She also started off as a dancer in an episode of sitcom ‘Genie in the House’ which was released in 2006.
Saffron Coomber as Chantrelle Brahms
Saffron Coomber, 28, from Greenwich, is taking on the role of Chantrelle Brahms – Leah’s sister who joins her on her mission to travel to the ‘mother land’.
Beauty: Saffron Coomber, 28, from Greenwich, is taking on the role of Chantrelle Brahms – Leah’s sister who joins her on her mission to travel to the ‘mother land’
She is a star stuck and glamourous woman who dreams of fame.
Chantrelle believes her job as a live in nanny to a respectable British family living close to the famous film studios in Borehamwood, is the ticket to her dream life.
But she discovers the devastating truth about this ‘respectable’ family and that the short-cut route to stardom is a million miles away from her reality.
Saffron said she was already familiar with the struggled that the Windrush generation faced before Three Little Birds because of her grandparents heritage.
She said: ‘My grandparents came over from Jamaica at around the same time. I owe everything to them.
‘I wouldn’t be sitting here without them taking that leap of faith. I’ve always been very interested in family history anyway.
‘I love asking my elders about what it was like, about what memories they have, and not just about the 50s.’
Saffron is best known for her role as Saphire Fox in Tracy Beaker returns from 2010 to 2012.
The actress may also bring a wave of nostalgia for many soap stars as she also portrayed Alexa Smith – friend of Phil Mitchell’s granddaughter Lexi- in EastEnders from 2012 to 2013.
One of her first TV appearances was her role as Cathy in Dustbin Baby.
Yazmin Belo as Hosanna Drake
Yazmin Belo plays Hosanna and her reason for travelling to the UK are very different to the sisters.
Star: Yazmin Belo plays Hosanna and her reason for travelling to the UK are very different to the sisters.
The pair have chosen her as a potential bride for their brother Aston Brahms.
Hosanna is a devout Christian and trainee nurse from Clarendon and the daughter of a pastor.
While she is convinced by the pair to give up her job and embark on the sisters’ journey, her intentions are to look for her estranged father and is completely focused on tracking him down.
Coming to England is a massive roller coaster for Hosanna.
She doesn’t intend to stay as long as she does soo a new way of living, finding her tribe and potential partner, was never something she anticipated.
Yazmin explained her show actually reminds of her of her own mother.
When asked if the story resonated with her, she said: Yes. Hosanna comes from the parish of Clarendon in Jamaica, which is where my mother’s family grew up.
‘My mum came over here in the 80s, when she was about 23, so she’s a bit too young to have been a part of the Windrush generation; but she’s definitely a direct descendent of it.
‘I looked to some of my older aunties for inspiration and to check that it was accurate.
‘My mum is also a pastor’s child, so when I first landed this role of Hosanna, the similarities were deeply personal and a big part of where I came from. I was like, ‘Wow! How amazing!’ and because this is international, I’m so excited knowing that that my aunties and uncles in Jamaica will be tuning in to this.’
Yazmin is known previously for her role as Jessica Mensah in What just happened? and her role as mum in Mother’s Cry (a visual poem).
She trained at The BRIT School, graduating in 2020 with a 1st class honours degree.
Javone Prince as Aston Brahms
Javone Prince plays the role Aston Brahms – Leah and Chantrelle’s persuasive brother.
Class act: Javone Prince plays the role Aston Brahms – Leah and Chantrelle’s persuasive brother
Aston resided in the UK for four years before his sisters arrival and while he thought his life was going to dramatically improve, he did not plan for the lack of multicultural acceptance.
He makes some poor financial decisions but is wanting to start fresh again with his new wife but little does he know that he is not the only one with a few secrets.
The brother sends the women money for a bribe to be sent over and cure his loneliness as he struggles with the lack of acceptance.
Javone explained that his role in the show means a great deal to him as the story line reminds him of his own family.
When asked if the characters in show remind him of him own family, he said: ‘Absolutely. That’s why this script is so potent for me.
‘When I read it, I was like, ‘I have to do this.’ From the first audition, I was thinking, ‘I have to get this job!’
‘Then when I met the directors, and we were talking about the characters, I told them, ‘Hosanna is my grandmother!’ My grandmother is exactly like that woman.
‘When we were at home, my grandfather would say nothing because in the hierarchy of Black families the woman is in charge. Granddad would just nod his head and take the abuse.’
Javone is also known for his work as
Bobby Gordon as Shelton Powell
Bobby Gordon plays dashing Shelton Powell who has a strong moral compass who was raised to believe in the sanctity of marriage.
Handsome: Bobby Gordon plays dashing Shelton Powell who has a strong moral compass who was raised to believe in the sanctity of marriage
But this crumbles when he discovered his mum was having an affair and his father knew but was too weak to stop it.
Shelton first came to Britain as part of the R.A.F. and was proud to fight but once the war was won, he was shocked when his British friends started asking him when he was going home.
Back in Jamaica, he found nothing but the same old shacks, poverty and depression.
He returned to the England as quickly as he could. Learning from his parents’ marriage, Shelton’s cautious about allowing anyone to get close to him, but as he spends time with Leah, he lets his guard down.
Bobby said his own father’s life had helped a great deal with his role as Shelton as the character knew he was a minority and had to navigate himself in a certain way.
He said: ‘My dad was a bit of a social character. He used to steal my grandma’s car when he was 15 and drive into London and stuff.
‘So he didn’t have a similar life to Shelton. But it was similar in the idea of learning to navigate, knowing that you’re the minority, and then fitting in so that you can progress as well.
‘So there wasn’t the whole thing of, ‘I hate white people’. It was more, ‘I need to learn how to just talk to everyone. I need to know how to carry myself in every situation and dress a certain type of way. And then just through the success of what I do, I’ll get respect. Then people will respect my intellect as opposed to just looking at the colour of my skin.’
Bobby is otherwise known for his previous role as Tom in The Phoebus Files.
Leemore Marrett Jr as Ephraim Whittaker
Leemore Marrett plays sexy old-school alpha male Ephraim Whittaker – Leah’s abusive husand.
He thinks that a woman is his property and is meant to keep the house clean, bear him sons to help work the farm, and never question his authority.
He has a quick temper, which is only further ignited when he drinks, and Leah constantly finds herself ‘provoking’ him into verbal or physical violence.
Afterwards, he apologises and says he’ll never do it again – but he always does.
When Leah escapes him, he is furious. With Leah in England, desperately trying to find a way to bring her kids over, Ephraim spies an opportunity to derail Leah’s plans by wrestling his way back into the good graces of Momma Gladys and the kids.
Leemore is known for his previous role as Patrice Campbell in Death in Paradise and he also played ‘muscle cop’ in The Batman.
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