David Tennant is to play the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in a four-part ITV series.
The drama, Litvinenko, depicts how the former FSB officer was poisoned with the rare radioactive substance polonium-210 at the Millennium hotel in London in 2006.
The 50-year-old Scotsman will take on the role of the former Russian spy, who was interviewed by police officers at his hospital bedside.
Written by George Kay and executive produced by Patrick Spence, the programme will also focus on Litvinenko’s widow Marina and her campaign to prove who was behind her husband’s high-profile assassination.Alexander Litvinenko in May 2002. Photograph: Alistair Fuller/AP
The European court of human rights ruled on 21 September that Russia was responsible for the murder.
In its judgement, the ECHR said it found beyond reasonable doubt that Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun killed Litvinenko and did so while “acting as agents of the respondent state [Russia]”.
Screenwriter Kay said: “In late 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was a living witness to his own murder. He spent his dying days entrusting the Metropolitan police with the details of what happened to him.
“It took those police and his remarkable widow, Marina Litvinenko, a decade to have those claims ratified. Their stamina, hard work and bravery are what make this not only an essential story of our times but a privilege to be asked to write.”
As well as the police investigation, the ITV drama will also highlight how his fearless widow Marina, played by Margarita Levieva, fought to persuade the British government to publicly name her husband’s killers and recognise Russia’s role.Des review – David Tennant excels as a perfectly ordinary serial killer Read more
The executive producer, Patrick Spence, described working on the series as a “privilege” and praised the “courage” of the officers behind one of the UK’s most complex criminal investigations.
“This one is a privilege, a once in a career opportunity to tell a story about a family and a police team who have shown such courage and resilience that it has inspired us all,” he said.
Tennant recently won best drama performance at the National Television Awards for his depiction of the serial killer Dennis Nilsen in the ITV drama Des.
The former Scotland Yard officers Clive Timmons and Brent Hyatt will be played by Mark Bonnar and Neil Maskell.
ITV added that Litvinenko has the support of “many of the key individuals involved in the investigation and subsequent public inquiry”.