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Hugh Laurie teases his huge new BBC drama Roadkill - 'It’s pretty unforgiving'

Hugh Laurie in Roadkill
(Image credit: BBC/The Forge/Steffan Hill)

Hugh Laurie on playing a charming but ruthless politician in a new political thriller

Hugh Laurie says that his big new BBC1 drama Roadkill (opens in new tab) is a “pretty unforgiving” portrayal of a man desperate for power.

The Night Manager actor stars as charismatic politcian Peter Laurence, a Conservative cabinet minister hellbent on making it all the way to the top.

But in the drama - created by acclaimed playwright Sir David Hare who penned Collateral starring Carey Mulligan - Peter’s private and public life are falling apart.

“Roadkill is a political drama about the price of success in the political realm and what it demands of the people who do it, and those around the person who does it. It’s pretty unforgiving,” says Hugh.

Talking about how Roadkill opens, Hugh reveals: “When we first join Peter Laurence he has just escaped the jaws of failure at the very least. He has taken the unusual step of suing a newspaper in a libel case, which is generally speaking something that politicians don’t do, or are not advised to do, and certainly the political establishment do not approve of them doing it. He’s a confident fellow and is confident in his ability to talk himself out of a jam.”

MORE: All the must watch dramas on BBC iPlayer

Hugh Laurie in Roadkill

Will Peter's (Hugh Laurie) enemies catch up with him?

Peaky Blinders actress Helen McCrory plays Prime Minister Dawn Ellison, who is trying to keep Peter in check.

Peter is a man whose life could collapse at any moment...

Meanwhile, dad-of-two Peter is facing trouble in his marriage to Helen (played by Us (opens in new tab) star Saskia Reeves).

“They are childhood sweethearts and have taken quite a journey together. It subsequently turns out that Peter is also carrying on a liaison with another woman whose life was in a state of desperation until he extended a hand of friendship and support which turned into something romantic.”

And Hugh teases how ruthless Peter can be in his pursuit of power. “The story is in some regards about the price he is prepared to pay to get to the top position and the price that he forces everyone else to pay, principally his family, but also those who pledge their loyalty to him.

"He is a man who is relatively free of the gravity of guilt and whose life mission is to keep moving forward and not to look back. It sounds as if the story is entirely about me - it isn’t. There are three or four different stories interlocking in different places with different hopes or dreams being realised or dashed.”

Roadkill starts on Sunday 18th October at 9pm on BBC1 (see our TV Guide for more shows to enjoy).

David is the What To Watch Editor and has over 20 years of experience in television journalism. He is currently writing about the latest television and film news for What To Watch.

Before working for What To Watch, David spent many years on TV Times magazine, interviewing some of television's most famous stars including Hollywood actor Kiefer Sutherland, singer Lionel Richie and wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough. 

David started out as a writer on TV Times before becoming the title's deputy features editor and then features editor. During his time on TV Times, David also helped run the annual TV Times Awards. David is a huge Death in Paradise fan, although he's still failed to solve a case before the show's detective! He also loves James Bond and controversially thinks that Timothy Dalton was an excellent 007.

Other than watching and writing about telly, David loves playing cricket, going to the cinema, trying to improve his tennis and chasing about after his kids!