Laurence Olivier Award winner Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful, Spectre), Daniel Mays (Line of Duty, Mrs Biggs), Babou Ceesay (Getting On, Eye In The Sky) and Zawe Ashton (Fresh Meat, Not Safe for Work) have joined the cast of the new six-part drama thriller, Guerrilla, set to air on Sky Atlantic and SHOWTIME next year.

Filming begins this week in and around London on Guerrilla, part of Sky’s growing portfolio of original drama, and centres on two politically active lovers who set out to change the world. Academy Award® winner John Ridley (American Crime, 12 Years a Slave) will create, write and direct the series. Golden Globe® winner Idris Elba (Luther, Beasts of No Nation) will co-star and serve as an executive producer through his Green Door Pictures. Ridley will write the majority of the episodes and will direct the first two and the finale, with Emmy® Award nominee Sam Miller (Luther, Fortitude) directing the remaining episodes.

Babou Ceesay plays the role of Marcus, whose partner Jas is played by Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire). Both political activists, they quickly transform into hardened militants at war with a Special Branch unit dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism.

Rory Kinnear and Daniel Mays play the roles of Pence and Cullen, coppers assigned to a secret Special Branch unit that targets black activists on the streets of 1970s London.

Also joining the cast are Zawe Ashton, playing the part of Omega who views herself as a leader within the black community; the award-winning Denise Gough (People, Places & Things, The Duchess of Malfi) as the tough and fiery Fallon; Nathaniel Martello-White (Deadmeat, Misfits, Trial and Retribution) as Dhari, an astute and charismatic radical with Nicholas Pinnock (Fortitude) as Julian a calm, cool character and Brandon Scott (Grey’s Anatomy) as Leroy, a rough-customer who is dedicated to the movement but also has his own policies.

John Ridley said: “I have wanted to tell this story for many years and I feel a great sense of responsibility towards the people and era that we are portraying. We have been given a rare opportunity to explore the kind of narrative that we do not usually see on television, and with the kinds of artisans who are not typically represented. I am extremely grateful and inspired by the brilliant and dedicated actors who have recently joined our team.”

Guerrilla is a love story set against the backdrop of one of the most politically explosive times in U.K. history. It tells the story of a couple whose relationship and values are tested when they liberate a political prisoner and form a radical underground cell in 1970s London. Their ultimate target becomes the Black Power Desk, a true-life, secretive counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism. Whilst the series is set against a background of social and political activism, at its heart Guerrilla is about a relationship under pressure, and the reality that for any couple there comes a point when the choices they make have real and lasting consequences.

Along with Ridley and Elba, the executive producers will be Patrick Spence and Katie Swinden for Fifty Fathoms, Tracy Underwood for ABC Signature and Michael McDonald for Stearns Castle. Yvonne Ibazebo will serve as producer for Fifty Fathoms and Shaheen Baig is the casting director. The series is a co-production between Fifty Fathoms and ABC Signature.

Guerrilla joins 10 original drama series already on air or set to air in 2016 and 2017 on Sky Atlantic and Sky 1 in the UK & Ireland. These include returning series Fortitude, alongside new series The Young Pope, Hooten & The Lady, Tin Star, Delicious, Riveria, The Four, Jamestown and The Last Dragonslayer.

It has been a very successful year for Sky original drama, which includes BAFTA nominations for The Last Panthers and The Enfield Haunting, and record-breaking audiences for Sky 1’s Stan Lee’s Lucky Man.