ITV has given the greenlight to Churchill’s Secret, a feature length drama about Britain’s famous war time Prime-Minister during his second term in office. Harry Potter and The Casual Vacancy alum Michael Gambon is attached to star as Churchill. US Public broadcaster PBS are co-producing and will air the drama state-side as part of their Masterpiece strand.
Churchill’s Secret is set during the summer months of 1953 when Churchill (Gambon), who is once again Prime Minister, suffers a life-threatening stroke, which is kept secret from the world. Told from the viewpoint of his young Nurse, Millie Appleyard, the drama follows his battle to recover as his long suffering wife desperately hopes the stroke will force Winston to retire while his political friends and foe scheme to plot who will succeed him. Lindsay Duncan also stars as Clementine Churchill.
Based on Jonathan Smith’s book The Churchill Secret: KBO, the two-hour drama is being adapted by Stewart Harcourt and will be produced by Daybreak Pictures in association with PBS. Da Vinci’s Demons helmer Charles Sturridge is set to direct, while Timothy Bricknell will serve as the producer. The executive producers are Rebecca Eaton, David Aukin and Hal Vogel. Production is set to commence this June in London and at Churchill’s principal family home, Chartwell in Kent. Passion Distribution will handle global sales.
“Churchill’s Secret is the extraordinary and compelling story of how one of our country’s most famous political figures battled back from life-threatening illness to hold on to power, ” said ITV’s Director of Drama Steve November, who commissioned the drama alongside Controller of Drama Victoria Fea. “We’re delighted to commission Churchill’s Secret from Daybreak Pictures and to be working with Michael Gambon as Sir Winston Churchill and Lindsay Duncan as his wife Clemmie.”
“Winston Churchill is an epic figure to Americans, much as he is to the British”, added Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton. “He epitomizes the Special Relationship, a phrase he coined. Hal Vogel and David Aukin have been excellent partners in the past, and it’s a privilege to be working with them again.”