The TV drama that became topical by accident

Image caption Babou Ceesay plays Manny, the father of a boy who is abused by a Hollywood producer

Two years ago, screenwriter Levi David Addai had an idea for a new fictional TV drama. But within months, the storyline suddenly felt much more realistic.

BBC One’s Dark Money tells the story of sexual abuse in Hollywood, and the efforts to cover it up.

When 13-year-old Isaac Mensah is plucked from his regular life at school in London to star in a major new movie, his family is delighted. But while he is in the US shooting the film, a powerful studio executive takes advantage of him.


Recommended For You

Mobi First - Mobile WebSiteBuilder

Quickly Build The Fastest Websites On The Internet That Are Virtually Guaranteed To Land You Higher In Google Search Results!

Linkedtify 2

Purchase The Best LinkedIn Software and Training and get rewarded with consistent leads. Proof Inside!

IM Checklist Volume 11: Building A Business On WordPress

IM Checklist Volume 11: Building A Business On WordPress - 18 Step by Step Checklists covering everything you need to know about WordPress


The producer then attempts to buy the young boy’s silence, offering his family £3m if they sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) promising to keep quiet. The rest of the series explores the impact of the decision they make.

Of course, in the time it’s taken to bring the series to the screen, several real-life allegations have been made against high-profile figures, and the widespread use of NDAs has been the subject of debate.

Image caption A 13-year-old London schoolboy, Isaac Mensah, is chosen for a Hollywood film role

In October 2017, producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of sexual abuse by several women – allegations which he denies. The case sparked the #MeToo movement and it came to light that many women who had worked with him had signed NDAs.

Then, earlier this year, a documentary about the late Michael Jackson called Leaving Neverland alleged sexual harassment of two underage boys by the singer.

But, explains Addai, Dark Money was in progress before either the recent Weinstein or Jackson allegations hit the headlines.

“I began developing the idea and writing the script before those stories actually became mainstream,” he says. “So I was in this weird position where I was doing this thing that was totally original, as it were, and as it was getting closer to getting green lit, the news just exploded.

“And people were like, ‘Wow, have you heard?’ But for me personally, I was like, ‘I know these things are going on, this is not big news for me’. But I was fortunate enough that the BBC allowed me to continue telling my story.”

What are non-disclosure agreements?

Image copyright Getty Images

Sometimes known as “gagging orders” or “hush agreements”, NDAs typically prevent staff and ex-staff making information public.


Recommended For You

Curation Lab Course Curator

Curation Lab is the ULTIMATE tool to curate high-quality content from multiple sources online, while building passive traffic streams!

Stocknation Ultimate Advanced

Add Searchable 200,000+ PNG Icons, 150,000+ Illustrations, 75,000 Vectors, 3,000+ Audios to your Library with Commercial License.

DigiFunnel Lab - TRAFFIC PRO

100% Done-For-You Highly Profitable Digital Affiliate Funnels - Crush It Online With Your Own Funnels!


Many companies get employees to sign them as a matter of course, as they can apply to commercially sensitive details such as inventions and ideas, or anything likely to damage an organisation’s reputation.

NDAs have also been used to prevent employees discussing in the media allegations of misbehaviour in the workplace after a settlement has been agreed.

They’re signed when employees and organisations resolve a dispute – such as a claim of wrongful dismissal – without going through a full tribunal hearing.

While the news headlines around abuse and non-disclosure agreements could easily have been a source of research for Addai, he says he decided instead to stick to consulting child psychologists during development. What he found was that, if anything, his proposed storyline hardly scratched the surface of the world of abuse and NDAs.

“The production company were good at arranging meetings with Tavistock Children’s Services, speaking to child psychologists, who explained that this is nowhere near what’s been happening in our country right now,” he says. “To hear these guys lay out raw their kind of passion to really do something about it, they’re the real heroes really.

“And make it unique as well. Isaac’s story is Isaac’s story. There might be similarities [to news events], but I hope once people get to see the entirety of the series they can see there is hope there, that it’s not the end of your story, there is a way you can progress.”

Image caption Manny and Sam (Jill Halfpenny) are seen grappling with their consciences

In the series, Jill Halfpenny plays Isaac’s mother Sam, who grapples with her own conscience over what they should do after the abuse takes place. Isaac’s own wish that nobody else finds out effectively encourages the parents towards signing the NDA.

“There’s a decision that Isaac makes which is he doesn’t want anyone to know [about the abuse],” Halfpenny explains. “Of course, as parents you want to feel like you’d do everything possible to protect your child, but in some ways it suits Sam and Manny that he doesn’t want anyone to know, because they can then just put it in a box, and see if they can survive doing it that way.”

Dark Money arrives hot on the heels of Bitter Wheat – a new David Mamet play which opened in London last month. Its plot was inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, making it the first West End play to tackle the subject.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a topic that just sort of fades away, nor particularly should it be,” the show’s star John Malkovich told BBC News at the time.

Image copyright PA
Image caption John Malkovich in rehearsals for Bitter Wheat – which was inspired by the Weinstein scandal

For Addai, who has previously written Damilola: Our Loved Boy, the Bafta-winning dramatisation of the murder of Damilola Taylor, the biggest inspiration for Dark Money came from his own experience as a father.

“I enrolled my daughter in a drama school, for an hour and a half on a Saturday, which was great for me because I could catch up with work. It was interesting listening to the promises that’d be made by the drama school leaders.

“One of the big selling points would be a showcase in the West End or there being opportunities for auditions for soaps like EastEnders, and it was interesting watching the parents absorb that. And me being in this industry, I know that it’s not that straightforward. And I was just really interested to see how easily trusting the parents were to these people that they didn’t know, they just saw them as part of this arena of performing arts.”


Recommended For You

DigiFunnel Lab - UNLIMITED PRO

100% Done-For-You Highly Profitable Digital Affiliate Funnels - Crush It Online With Your Own Funnels!

IM Checklist Volume 5: Video Marketing

IM Checklist Volume 5 - 20 Step by Step Video Marketing Training Guides / Checklists with Private Label Rights


IM VIP Training - Over 240 Marketing Lessons, 16 Different Modules, Live Webinar Training, Software, Templates and Plugins Plus Much More


Dark Money begins on BBC One on Monday 8 July at 21:00 BST.

Related Topics

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

Interested in building a blog or auto-blog like this one ? Or just want to order one ?  Join our "Blogging Tips Tricks and Resources Skype" Group and let's chat about it. 

Join "Blogging Tips Tricks and Resources Skype" HERE

Interested in Starting your own Roku TV Channel ? Or interested in learning how to build one ? Join our "Roku TV Channel Development" Skype Group and let's chat about it. 

Join "Roku TV Channel Development" HERE


If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.

And ... Don't forget to have fun!



CoreSEO Pro Trial

CoreSEO is the one and the only software application that addresses all the optimization requirements that Google has for any website. In fact, it is a total and comprehensive solution for all the SEO updates from Google Updates.

IM Checklist - One Time Payment

IM Checklist - One Time Payment - Access To Over 395+ Marketing Checklists With New Updates Every Month. Live Webinar Training Plus 30 Hours Of Video Training

Nano Video Hosting and Live Streaming - 100GB

Video hosting and live streaming service, including unlimited bandwidth, True TV and VOD.

Leave a Reply