Marina Litvinenko: British politicians must watch real-life David Tennant drama

Litvinenko TV series
David Tennant stars as Alexander 'Sasha' Litvinenko in the four-part ITVX drama (Image credit: ITV)

Marina Litvinenko has urged Britain's leaders to watch ITVX's new drama Litvinenko, telling the story of her late husband's murder and the hunt for his killers. 

David Tennant plays Russian defector, Alexander "Sasha" Litvinenko, who died after being poisoned with Polonium-210 in an event that shocked the world in November 2006. 

Marina acted as a consultant on Litvinenko, which shows how he helped the police with their investigation in a series of bedside interviews during his final days. 

The police subsequently identified a prime suspect for Sasha's murder, yet no one has ever faced trial over the poisoning, which was believed to have taken place at London's Millenium Hotel. 

Marina has campaigned tirelessly for justice ever since, yet says her calls to prosecute her husband's killers have been met with resistance from at home and abroad.

"I never expected to be so experienced working with the justice system and with politicians," said Marina at a press launch for the series. "It was Labour in the beginning, and then it was the Conservative party, but I just started to realize that everybody has their own agenda. From 2010 and 2011 people started to tell me 'Marina, we're not sure you have a justice at the end' because this political climate is different."

However, in light of Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, Marina hopes the ITVX drama will demonstrate that Putin should not be placated and further efforts should be made to bring the men who killed Sasha to justice. 

Marina Litvinenko

The real Marina Litvinenko. (Image credit: ITV)

"I just couldn't believe how is it possible? I talked to many politicians and I have respect to some, I have a lot of critical opinion to others. But I believe they must watch this and what has happened now in Ukraine must change political attitude. Human lives and human rights is exactly the value of democracy. And now it's just like a checkpoint. Are you real, for democracy in the world?"

The four-part series stars Margarita Levieva (The DeuceThe Blacklist) as Marina, while Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Quiz) and Neil Maskell (Small Axe, Utopia) play the Scotland Yard officers investigating the case.

“Marina and I spent a lot of time together in London," says Margarita. "I was so grateful. It was my first time playing someone who is living and I was terrified because I thought, ‘Gosh, she is going to judge this casting and not be satisfied.’"

“Marina is remarkable. The thing that resonates even stronger when you meet her in person is the fact that her level of positivity and optimism through it all is just extraordinary. This belief that first of all she is not a victim. That this is not something that happened to her. This is not a curse from God. This is life and this is what happens. She is so grateful for the love, support and friends she has around her."

Litvinenko premieres on ITVX on Thursday 15 December.

Sean Marland
Feature writer for TV Times, What's On TV, TV & Satellite Week and whattowatch.com

Sean has been writing about all things telly for over 10 years and in that time he's been lucky enough to interview stars like Ian McKellen, Tom Hardy and Kate Winslet. His favourite shows are The Great British Bake-Off, People Just Do Nothing and Succession and in his spare time he enjoys drinking tea, doing crosswords and watching football.