Michael Gambon to star as Winston Churchill in new ITV drama

The story of Churchill’s illness revealed in new film

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Michael Gambon and Lindsay Duncan are to star in a new feature-length ITV film, Churchill’s Secret.

The 120’ film – based on Jonathan Smith’s book and adapted by Stewart Harcourt (Treasure Island, Poirot) – sees Gambon star as Sir Winston Churchill and Lindsay Duncan as his wife Clementine Churchill.

Set during the summer months of 1953 Churchill—now Prime Minister for the second time and in his late 70’s—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 Clemmie desperately hopes the stroke will force Winston to retire while his political friends and foe scheme to plot who will succeed him.

Meanwhile his adult children descend on Chartwell, unsure if he will pull through, as tensions within his family begin to surface.

Churchill’s Secret is a Daybreak Pictures/MASTERPIECE Co-production for ITV. Charles Sturridge (Da Vinci’s Demons, The Scapegoat) will direct.

ITV’s director of Drama Steve November said: “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. 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.”

MASTERPIECE Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton said: “Winston Churchill is an epic figure to Americans, much as he is to the British. 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.” MASTERPIECE is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston.

Churchill’s Secret will begin filming in June 2015 in London and at Churchill’s principal family home, Chartwell in Kent. The drama will air in the US on PBS in 2016 after the ITV transmission.