It’s 2015 and the once impressive Hazelwood Manor, which overlooks all of Scarborough and is the family home of the Hazelwoods, has now fallen into disrepair. Lord Hazelwood (Anthony Andrews, The King’s Speech, Birdsong, Brideshead Revisited) is fading fast, but Lady Hazelwood (Alice Krige, Thor: The Dark World, Spooks), his second wife, seems more concerned with maintaining the lifestyle she’s become accustomed to whilst his stepson Spencer (Sam Phillips, In the Flesh, Pete Versus Life) seems intent on spending his inheritance as quickly as possible. What is left of the estate is rapidly disappearing on fast cars, fancy yachts and living the high life despite rising debts… all behind the back of the ailing Lord Hazelwood.
Meanwhile ‘downstairs’ they have had to seriously reduce their staff; once there were 30, now there are only five left: housekeeper Sarah (Cara Theobold, Downton Abbey, Scrotal Recall, Call The Midwife), cleaner Dawn (Elizabeth Berrington, Stella, Trying Again, Crimson Petal and the White), cook Julie (Melanie Hill, Cilla, Brassed Off, Auf Wiedersehen Pet), groomsman cum odd-job man Sean (Richard Rankin, The Crimson Field, Silent Witness, Black Watch) and gardener Godfrey (Lenny Henry, The Magicians, Harry & Paul, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).
Godfrey formed the lottery syndicate with his colleagues years ago as he was convinced he could work out how to win it mathematically. He is a person with high functioning Asperger’s syndrome and as the series opens he is certain he’s finally cracked the system. He gives cleaner Dawn a list of this week’s ‘winning lottery numbers’ according to his statistics. A series of mishaps ensues and all seems lost – but then it hits them: seemingly against all the odds, they have won £14 million! Everyone is ecstatic. Dawn, pregnant with an unplanned third child, can’t wait to tell her husband Andy (Kieran O’Brien, The Look of Love, The Last Enemy), son Noah (newcomer Bradley Johnson) and beautiful daughter Amy (Daisy Head, Fallen, When The Heart Calls, Endeavour) who is reluctantly helping her out at Hazelwood Manor but has ambitions to become the next Cara Delevingne. And then, on the night of the win, Amy suddenly goes missing…
As we relish the joy of our syndicate’s journey from downstairs to upstairs, the search for Amy becomes increasingly urgent. The police investigation uncovers clues and raises suspicions. Secrets and backstories are revealed as we try to find out who has taken the young girl… and just how well do our syndicate really know each other?
The Syndicate 3 was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning.
Executive Producer Polly Hill, Head of Independent Drama for the BBC, comments: “Kay’s brilliantly crafted characters and script, combined with a fresh and exciting cast, will ensure our new series is packed full of gripping stories that our BBC One audience has come to expect from The Syndicate.”
Kay Mellor says: “The Syndicate 3 is a completely new series, with a fresh new world and brand new characters, the staff of a crumbling stately home: the Cook, House Manager, Gardener, Cleaner and Game Keeper. It’s about new money – ordinary people who win a life changing amount of money on the lottery. I was excited by the idea of setting the syndicate winners amongst the old money of a crumbling stately home, where Lord and Lady Hazel – wood’s inherited money is fast running out. It’s a delicious premise which enables me to look at class and social politics within the framework of a drama – ‘downstairs’ becoming instantly wealthier than ‘upstairs’. I’m able to explore how the lack of money and greed have a devastating effect and how a sudden change in fortune can bring about its own problems.”
Lenny Henry says: “I’m delighted to be co-starring in series 3 of The Syndicate – I’ve been a big fan of Kay Mellor’s since Band of Gold and Playing the Field, so to actually be on set with her as writer/director is just lovely.”