David Tennant to play murdered Russian defector in new ITV drama

David Tennant to play murdered Russian defector in new ITV drama
Alexander Litvinenko was known as ‘the man who solved his own murder’ after he helped lead investigators to the Russians who poisoned him with a rare radioactive substance

David Tennant will portray former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in a new ITV drama, it has been announced.

The Scottish Doctor Who star will lead the series – which is the brainchild of Lupin creator George Kay – following his critically acclaimed performance as serial killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV’s Des.

Litvinenko will tell the story of his fearless widow, Marina (Margarita Levieva), who fought tirelessly to convince the British government to publicly name her husband’s killers and acknowledge the Russian State’s role in his murder.

The drama will also focus on the Scotland Yard officers who worked for a decade to uncover those responsible for the murder of the former KGB officer and Russian defector.

Litvinenko died 22 days after being poisoned with a rare and hard-to-detect radioactive substance, Polonium-210, at a London hotel in 2006.

During police interviews from his hospital bed, he provided investigators with meticulous details of the events leading up to his illness, which helped them to track down his killers.

Marina Litvinenko, the widow of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, leaving high court after attending the first day of the inquiry into her husband’s death

In a statement, ITV said the series was being created with the support of “many of the key individuals involved in the investigation and subsequent public inquiry”.

“In late 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was a living witness to his own murder,” Kay said in a statement.

“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.

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“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.”

Executive producer Patrick Spence said: “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.”

Along with Tennant and Levieva, Litvinenko will also star Catastrophe’s Mark Bonnar, and Small Axe’s Neil Maskell.