Noughts & Crosses' viewers praise the 'exceptional' detail

Noughts + Crosses’ viewers praise the ‘exceptional’ detail as the first episode airs to rave reviews – from ‘only black faces on the TV’ to the celebration of African clothing and THAT plaster scene

  • British author Malorie Blackman’s Noughts + Crosses has been adapted by BBC 
  • The first episode was met with rave reviews when it aired last night 
  • Viewers praised the exceptional attention to detail in bringing Albion to life
  • Shows how African culture dominates and is celebrated in an alternate London 

Noughts + Crosses was met with widespread praise on its premiere last night, with viewers applauding the programme’s exceptional attention to detail in bringing author Malorie Blackman’s world to life. 

The six-part drama, based on Blackman’s book of the same title, is set in the fictional country of Albion – ostensibly England in a parallel universe – centuries after an African fleet invaded Europe.

At the time the series starts there are two races in Albion: the Crosses, darker-skinned with money, power, jobs and education; and the Noughts, lighter-skinned, poorer and usually working as labourers and servants. 

FASHION: Noughts + Crosses was met with widespread praise on its premiere last night, with viewers applauding the programme’s exceptional attention to detail in bringing author Malorie Blackman’s world to life. Pictured, Rakie Ayola as Prime Minister Opal Folami. The character’s costume is typical of how African fabrics and fashion are celebrated on screen

MEDIA: Fans were blown away with how the creative team had paid attention to creating a world where African culture is dominant and is celebrated, after being overlooked and underrepresented. Pictured, only black newsreaders are seen on screen in the episode

Dozens of fans took to Twitter to share their excitement and praise the attention to detail

When Callum (Jack Rowan), a Nought, falls in love with Sephy (Masali Baduza), a high-status Cross, the ramifications include terror attacks, kidnapping and a tragic parting for the star-crossed lovers. 

Fans were blown away with how the creative team had paid attention to creating a world where African culture is dominant and is celebrated, after being overlooked and underrepresented.

The models on the beauty billboards are non-white; the white characters sport black hairstyles; African music, language and architecture is celebrated; and, crucially for the story, black characters hold the authority positions in the government, police and military. 

PLASTERS: Among the standout moments in last night’s episode was a scene between Sephy and Callum in which she puts a plaster on his finger after he cuts it on broken glass, pictured

The moment was one of the most memorable from the book and struck a chord with viewers

One tweeted: ‘The exclusive schools, the slum neighbourhoods, microaggressions, plasters in brown, the media with only black faces #NoughtsAndCrosses.’ 

Another posted: ‘This level of detail has my head spinning, the colour of the plasters, the beauty billboards, the prints on the clothing because of course it would be commonplace, the architecture. #NoughtsAndCrosses.’ 

A third added: ‘You guys need to watch #NoughtsAndCrosses . Everything about this is so on point. It’s set in a world where Africans invaded everywhere instead of Europeans. The way white people have African hairstyles due to forced assimilation. The little micro aggressions, the media.’  

GOVERNMENT: Paterson Joseph as Home Secretary Kamal Hadley, in an all ‘Cross’ government

ADVERTISEMENTS: Black beauty is celebrated with beauty billboards seen in the background

ARCHITECTURE: The house of the Cross Home Secretary celebrates African architecture

UNIVERSITIES: The ‘Crosses’ like Sephy dominate in university classes and the armed forces

ASSIMILATION: Under-privileged ‘Noughts’ wear African fabrics and hairstyles, pictured

Among the standout moments in last night’s episode was a scene between Sephy and Callum in which she puts a plaster on his finger after he cuts it on broken glass. 

Sephy wraps the plaster around his thumb to reveal it is a much darker shade than his fair skin. The moment perfectly encapsulates the power dynamics between the couple, and the wider society in which they live. 

‘This plaster scene was so powerful! If you know, you know,’ one tweeted. 

Another added: ‘Wow 20 mins in and just wow. The power of the plaster scene. The attention to every little detail. Everyone needs to what this or read the books. Outstanding. #NoughtsAndCrosses.’

The first episode was met with widespread praise as viewers celebrated the representation

Noughts + Crosses continues Thursday 9pm on BBC1 and is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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