EXCLUSIVE: ITV’s 1960s set medical drama series Breathless has added another actor to its already large cast. My sources tell me that Cathy Sara (The Crash) has joined the series in recurring role and will be appearing in at least four episodes. Created by Paul Unwin and Peter Grimsdale, Breathless is set in 1961, at a time when Britain was on the brink of the ‘60s revolution – abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only just available to married women. Set in and around a busy Gynaecology unit in an NHS hospital, the drama series follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses. Seemingly the normal workplace, under this veneer simmers a cauldron of lies, deceptions and guilty secrets, driven by love, ambition and sex. The series revolves around Otto Powell, a brilliant and charismatic surgeon, who passionately believes he can make a difference to women’s lives, even if that means risking imprisonment under the abortion laws of 1961. The drama series is being produced by ITV Studios and stars Jack Davenport (Smash), Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Shaun Dingwall (Above Suspicion), Natasha Little (Kidnap and Ransom), Oliver Chris (Green Wing), Zoe Boyle (Sons of Anarchy), Joanna Page (The Syndicate), Catherine Steadman (The Tudors), Sarah Parish (Hatfields & McCoys), Ronny Jhutti (Vexed) and Pippa Haywood (Mr Selfridge).
The BBC Four/BBC America biopic Burton & Taylor has added two actors to its cast. William Hope (Marple) and newcomer Isabella Brazier-Jones have both landed roles in the 90 minutes drama, which is currently in production. A 90 minute one-off drama, Burton & Taylor is a biopic about Richard Burton and Liz Taylor which documents their ill-fated appearance in a 1983 revival of Noel Coward’s stage play, Private Lives. The drama was written by William Ivory. BBC Drama Productions is producing the one-off in association with BBC America, who will air the film as part of their ‘Dramaville‘ block later this year. The drama stars Dominic West as Burton and Helena Bonham Carter as Taylor. The executive producer is Jessica Pope, Richard Laxton is directing.
Finally, ITV’s recently announced crime drama The Guilty had added another two actors to its already large cast. I’ve learned that Arsher Ali (Beaver Falls) and Ruta Gedmintas (Do No Harm) have both landed guest roles on the drama. Penned by Debbie O’Malley, The Guilty is set in both 2008 and the present day and follows DC Maggie Brand who investigates the disappearance of a little boy named Callum Reid. In 2008, at a neighbourhood barbecue Claire Reid and Daniel Reid relax amongst their friends and neighbours as little Callum plays contentedly with the other children. The evening sours, however, when after an alcohol fuelled evening tempers flare and a violent fight erupts at the barbecue. In the hours that follow Callum disappears and nothing is ever the same again. Five years later, the body of Callum is found buried mere yards from his front door. Now a DCI, Brand leads the new investigation and will leave no stone unturned, and going as far as risking her own happy family life with husband Jeb (Jamie Sives) to find out what happened to Callum. The three-part drama stars Tamsin Greig (Episodes), Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge), Darren Boyd (Spy) and Jamie Sives (Secret State). While Jay Simpson (Mrs Biggs), Milo Twomey (Doctors), Alan Williams (Endeavour) and Pooky Quesnel (Starlings) are all set to appear in guest roles. Hartswood Films is producing the serial, with Elaine Cameron serving as producer and Beryl Vertue serving as the executive producer. Ed Bazalgette is directing.