BBC musical Glasgow Girls to portray schoolgirls who changed Scottish immigration

Gary Lewis and Greg Hemphill are to star in BBC’s new musical drama, Glasgow Girls.

The pair have signed on for roles in the 60-minute show, which tells the inspirational true story of a group of schoolgirls whose petition to save their friend from deportation inspired a human rights movement.

Their campaign, originally captured in an award-winning BBC Scotland documentary in 2005 and which inspired a stage musical, eventually helped to change immigration practices in Scotland after they lobbied the Home Office and challenged the First Minister in public.

Gary, who appeared in Billy Elliot and Gangs Of New York, will play Drumchapel High’s bilingual support teacher Euan Girvan, while Scottish actor Greg takes on the role of First Minister of Scotland, Jack McConnell.

Olivia Popica has been cast as 15-year-old Agnesa Murselaj, a Roma from Kosovo, who was taken with her family by Immigration officers in a dawn raid. Kirstie Steele, Erin Armstrong, Letitia Wright, Aruhan Galieva, Effie Scott and Kirsty Pickering will play her school friends .

Producer Colin Barr said: “This true story has all the makings of a brilliant drama – a group of dynamic characters proving how young people can make big changes in the world. Bringing the story to life will be an extremely talented cast, who perfectly capture the spirit of the real characters they represent.

“Music inspired the real Glasgow Girls and so is an integral part of this production. Contemporary and recognisable songs will be performed in unfamiliar ways, pulling the story forward and heightening big moments.”

Zai Bennett, former controller of BBC Three, added: “Glasgow Girls is a thrilling blend of true story, high drama and musical storytelling.”

Glasgow Girls, directed by Brian Welsh and written by Brian and Joe Barton, is part of the BBC’s contribution to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.