Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes will lead the cast of new ITV drama Stonehouse.
The three-part series will tell the life and times of disgraced Labour minister John Stonehouse .
It relates how Stonehouse, a high-flying member of Harold Wilson’s Government, vanished from the beach of a large luxury hotel in Florida in November 1974, leaving a neatly folded pile of clothes as he swam into the sea, intent on faking his own death.
The show will be written by acclaimed writer John Preston and directed by BAFTA-nominated Jon S. Baird (Stan & Ollie, Vinyl, Filth) with BAFTA award-winning and Emmy-nominated Matthew Macfadyen (Succession, Quiz) in the leading role and co-starring Keeley Hawes (Honour, It's A Sin) as Stonehouse’s wife Barbara.
The drama will also star Emer Heatley (Showtrial) as Stonehouse’s mistress Sheila Buckley, Kevin R McNally (The Crown, Unforgotten) as Harold Wilson, Dorothy Atkinson (All Creatures Great and Small, Mum) as Betty Boothroyd and Igor Grabuzov (Voskresenskiy, No Looking Back).
Matthew Macfadyen said: "What happened to John Stonehouse is the stuff of legend.
"I’ve always been intrigued by what motivated him to fake his own death, and leave behind the family he loved and doted upon and a promising political career.
"John Preston’s script truly captures the man and his colourful life and I’m looking forward to taking on his character."
Writer John Preston added: "I’ve always been fascinated by John Stonehouse.
"The story of how he faked his own death and tried to start a new life in Australia under an assumed name is one of the most bizarre true-life tales I’ve ever come across.
"I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s being brought to the screen with such an outstanding cast."
Director Jon S. Baird said: "I’m always drawn to fascinating true stories and this one is extra special because it has both comedic and emotional potential. Matthew is perfect casting for this role.
"It’s also great to be working with ITV for the first time and with two fabulous producers in Ruth and Ellie.”
The three-part series will air on ITV with broadcast details to be announced.
ITV's Head of Drama Polly Hill said: "John Preston’s brilliant scripts and the perfect casting of Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes promise to make this an unmissable drama.
"This incredible true story and the excellent production team, led by the director Jon S. Baird, will continue the unparalleled quality we have at delivering true drama on ITV."