What is Red Rose about? Netflix & BBC series explained

A still from Red RoseNetflix

What is Red Rose about? The British horror series, originally released on the BBC, has landed on the Netflix chart – here’s a rundown on what the show’s about, who’s in it, and what you can expect.

The BBC has licensed several shows to Netflix for US audiences, including Peaky Blinders, Bodyguard, Call the Midwife, and Collateral.

Red Rose, a horror-drama series created by Michael and Paul Clarkson and coming from the producers of Sex Education, first premiered on BBC Three in August last year.

Since dropping on Netflix last week, the show quickly found a spot on the streaming platform’s Top 10 chart – so, here’s what you need to know.

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What is Red Rose about?

Red Rose follows a group of teenagers whose lives and friendships are infiltrated by a mysterious smartphone app. Not only does it threaten them with dangerous consequences if they don’t carry out its challenges, but it makes them vulnerable to a supernatural entity.

Check out the trailer below:

As per the BBC, the synopsis reads: “The story follows a disparate group of teenagers, adrift in the long hot summer following GCSEs, hanging out on the Bolton moors with little sense of direction or purpose now that school is over.

“Rumours circulate of the Red Rose app, an urban legend that blooms on the smartphones of teenagers, encouraging them to undertake a series of challenges increasingly dangerous in its demands.

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“On the fringes of her group of friends, Rochelle Jackson downloads the mysterious app, naively inviting darkness into her life. What she sets in motion is a series of events that take the town by storm, and bring the friends together to battle the unseen forces of a seemingly supernatural entity.”

In an interview with BBC News, the show’s creators described it as “Scream and The Ring, but with Boltonian teenagers and set in the present day.” They also cited some incredible inspirations, such as Stephen King, Derry Girls, and HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

How many episodes of Red Rose are there?

There are eight episodes of Red Rose, all of which are available to stream on Netflix.

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Red Rose cast: Who’s in it?

The Red Rose cast includes:

  • Amelia Clarkson as Wren Davies
  • Isis Hainsworth as Rochelle Mason
  • Natalie Blair as Ashley Banister
  • Ellis Howard as Anthony Longwell
  • Ali Khan as Tariq “Taz” Sadiq
  • Ashna Rabheru as Jaya Mahajan
  • Adam Nagaitis as Rick Bennet
  • Natalie Gavin as Rachel Davies
  • Samuel Anderson as Vinny
  • Harry Redding as Noah Royston
  • Hannah Griffiths as Big Jenna
  • Silvie Furneaux as Little Jenna
  • Ruaridh Mollica as Patrick Hume

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Hainsworth said she hoped it would “shine a light on these issues so many people are going through, especially as it’s about to get worse.”

“For young people, your phone is always there, it’s like an extension of your arm. Everything is on your phone, and that includes social media which can have a really horrible side to it,” she continued.

“Red Rose is a warning about the bad things that can go on there, and are going on. With phones, if there’s bullying it can follow you everywhere. You’re not safe if you go home. Even in your bedroom it can get you… turn your phone off.”

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Is Red Rose worth watching?

Well, Red Rose has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes – so yes, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Many critics have likened it to Black Mirror, although The Guardian wrote: “What makes Red Rose more insidious than anything that spooled from Charlie Brooker’s laptop six years ago is that the app is Jekyll as much as Hyde.”

Slate wrote: “The most frightening function Red Rose performs is reminding us that we’re too far gone to stop an attack like this.”

Mashable also wrote: “Red Rose takes the time to examine serious themes of grief, death, class, family, friendship, and early adulthood, all while our protagonists endure a tech–fueled nightmare that will make you want to throw your phone in the sea.”

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Red Rose is available to stream on Netflix now.