ITV today announced commission of a two-part drama, Lucan, based on the life of flamboyant aristocrat, Lord Lucan, and written by award-winning writer Jeff Pope.
Rory Kinnear (Southcliffe, Loving Miss Hatto, Skyfall) will play Lucan whilst Christopher Eccleston (Song for Marion, Blackout, The Shadow Line) takes the role of John Aspinall. Acclaimed actor Michael Gambon will also appear in the drama.
The drama, produced by ITV Studios/GroupM Entertainment and from the department headed by Creative Director and Executive Producer for ITV Studios Francis Hopkinson (Wallander, DCI Banks, Married, Single, Other), will tell the story of Lucan’s exploits as a member of the infamous Clermont set and will focus on his marriage collapse to Veronica, the Countess of Lucan.
With his marriage disintegrating, Lucan became obsessed with regaining custody of his children. Ultimately the drama will reveal what happened on that fateful night in November 1974 when his children’s nanny, Sandra Rivett, was cruelly bludgeoned to death in the basement of the family’s home in London’s Lower Belgrave Street as she made her way to the kitchen to make a cup of tea.
To this day Lucan is thought to have mistaken Sandra for his wife Veronica, whom he blamed for the fractures in his family life. His whereabouts and eventual fate have remained a mystery for nearly four decades, captivating and intriguing the public whose fascination with Lucan is undiminished.
The drama is inspired by and based upon the book, The Gamblers, written by author John Pearson who conducted exhaustive interviews with those most closely connected to Lucan at the time of Sandra’s murder. Pearson gained unprecedented access to Lucan’s friends and acquaintances from the Clermont Club who helped him piece together the Earl’s movements on the evening of 7 November. Once the dreadful murder had taken place they shed light on how Lucan escaped the police search, and ultimately his fate.
Lucan will be produced by Chris Clough (Dates, Strike Back, Skins) and executive produced by Francis Hopkinson, Jeff Pope and Quentin Curtis. The drama will be directed by Adrian Shergold (Mad Dogs, Pierrepoint, Dirty Filthy Love). Lucan is an ITV Studios/GroupM Entertainment co-production with Executive Producers for GroupM Entertainment being Richard Foster and Tony Moulsdale.
Francis Hopkinson, ITV Studios Creative Director and Executive Producer commented:
“This extraordinary and tragic event has fascinated people for 40 years. Jeff Pope's script, based on John Pearson's book The Gamblers, brings new insight and revelations, which will surprise the audience. We are delighted that a top cast and director have come together to tell this story."
Richard Foster, Managing Director, GroupM Entertainment:
“We are delighted to continue to build on our relationship with ITV Studios and to be moving into drama with them - especially when that drama is based on such an intriguing and ultimately tragic story and written by such a talented writer.”
ITV’s Director of Drama commissioning Steve November has commissioned the drama.
“The story of Lord Lucan continues to mystify and intrigue us,” said Steve. “Jeff’s reputation for award-winning factual drama goes before him and these new scripts offer a compelling insight into the events surrounding Lucan’s disappearance.”
Jeff Pope has devoted his career to writing and producing factual drama and has a formidable reputation within the genre. Most notably he wrote and executive produced Mrs Biggs for ITV Studios.
He was the executive producer of Appropriate Adult, [please note Appropriate Adult was written by Neil McKay]; as well as the executive producer for See No Evil: The Moors Murders, This is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence.
Filming of Lucan will begin in August 2013 in and around London.