The Halcyon, which premieres on Ovation TV Oct 2, takes the viewer inside a five-star London hotel in 1940, while the world is at war.
The stylish period drama, which will likely appeal to fans of The Crown and Downton Abbey, stars Steven Mackintosh and Olivia Williams, but there are a few choice guest stars throughout the first season, including jazz singer-songwriter Jamie Cullum and British soul singer Beverley Knight.
The producers worked hard to make the music an integral part of the show, just as it was for London citizens during World War II.
“Music was such an important thing then. When people needed a distraction from the war, where better than in a nightclub? And so if we were going to have music it seemed the right idea to put in some well-known stars,” series producer Chris Croucher mentions in the show’s production notes. “We worked with music producer Amanda Ghost She managed to get us Beverley Knight and Jamie Cullum, and they are simply wonderful. Beverley Knight singing in the real Cafe de Paris — bombed during the war — in London is one of the highlights of the entire series. So vibrant. As is Jamie Cullum who appears in another episode. He wrote two new songs for The Halcyon. And is the most lovely guy, as well as being such a talented performer.”
This exclusive behind-the-scenes video shows how Cullum came to be involved. “I think they were looking to do something which was quite bold with this project, which was to have music that fit in with the project but also was original.” Ghost and Cullum write an original song called “Forever,” that Ghost stresses aims to be “timeless and classic.”
Back in the present day, Cullum continues to tour, and to host his jazz show on BBC Radio 2.