Derry’s Jamie-Lee O’Donnell has major role in new Channel 4 drama ‘Screw’

Derry actress Jamie-Lee O’Donnell has been cast in a major role in Channel 4’s new drama ‘Screw.’

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 6th May 2021, 5:00 pm
Jamie-Lee O'Donnell (middle) has been cast in 'Screw.'

The Derry Girls actress will join a top cast in the 6x60’ drama is from STV Studios, by BAFTA nominated writer Rob Williams (The Victim, Killing Eve).

It has been described by Channel 4 as ‘prison as never seen before - the uncensored, shocking and often darkly funny reality of life as a prison officer in an all-male prison in 21st century Britain.’

At the head of the gang of embattled prison officer ‘screws’ is Leigh (Nina Sosanya – His Dark Materials, Little Birds), a woman who has devoted her entire adult life to this prison and its population. On a wing bursting at the seams, at the front line of a train-wreck of broken bureaucracy and short-term thinking, Leigh keeps her inmates in line and has their backs when they need it. But she is an enigma to her team, and has her own secrets that if discovered could cost her more than her job.

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Into the pressure cooker of Long Marsh Prison enters Rose (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), a 21 year old trainee officer. It’s a baptism of fire even for this street smart young woman. She joins fellow screws Ali (Faraz Ayub - Line of Duty, Bodyguard), Gary (Stephen Wight - I May Destroy You, Manhunt), Don (Ron Donachie - Titanic, Game of Thrones), and Jackie (Laura Checkley- King Gary, Detectorists).

Inspired by the creator’s experience of working and volunteering in prisons, filming begins in Glasgow in early May.

Caroline Hollick, Channel 4 Head of Drama, said: ‘Screw offers the audience an insight in to the challenges and struggles faced behind bars for both prisoners and officers; told with humour, humanity and hope. I’m so excited for our brilliant, distinctive cast, led by the superlative Nina Sosanya, and I hope Jamie-Lee O’Donnell’s dramatic new role will her see fast becoming an iconic face of Channel 4.’

Sarah Brown, STV Studios’ Creative Director of Drama added ‘We are incredibly excited about the extraordinary group of actors we’ve assembled for Screw. Rob Williams’s compelling, hilarious and thought-provoking scripts couldn’t be in better hands; we can’t wait to see audiences falling in love with our brilliant prison officer “family”.’

Screw is an STV Studios production for Channel 4, commissioned by Caroline Hollick, Channel 4 Head of Drama and overseen by Lee Mason, Channel 4 Commissioning Editor and Gemma Boswell, Channel 4 Head of Development. Rob Williams is Creator, Lead Writer and Executive Producer, with Karla Crome and Roanne Bardsley completing the writing team. Sarah Brown is Executive Producer for STV Studios (The Victim, Elizabeth is Missing) and Brian Kaczynski, Producer (The Cry, Peaky Blinders). Banijay Rights will manage global distribution for the series.