Litvinenko TV drama: cast, plot and everything we know about the David Tennant series

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

The first images of David Tennant in ITV's Litvinenko TV drama have dropped, giving us a taste of the harrowing tale coming to ITVX later this month.  

The shot replicated the iconic photo taken of Alexander Litvinenko in his hospital bed which made international headlines before he died.

The four-part series, which is based on real life, will see the former Doctor Who star playing the former Russian Federal Security Services and KGB officer, who was poisoned in highly suspicious circumstances. 

Alexander Litvinenko's death from polonium poisoning in November 2006 triggered one of the most complex and dangerous cases in the history of the Metropolitan Police. 

Written by acclaimed screenwriter, George Kay — whose screen hits include Lupin and CriminalLitvinenko is the story of the determined Scotland Yard Officers who worked for ten years to prove who was responsible. 

George Kay says: "In late 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was a living witness to his own murder. 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. 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."

Here's everything we know about the four-part drama... 

Litvinenko TV drama release date

The four-part series will premiere on ITVX on Thursday 15 December 2022. ITVX is the broadcaster's new version of the ITV Hub. Litvinenko will debut on ITVX before being shown on other ITV channels.

Litvinenko

Margarita Levieva plays Alexander Litvinenko's widow Marina (Image credit: ITV)

Litvinenko TV drama plot - what happens? 

The drama tells of how in November 2006 two police officers were called to University College Hospital in London to interview a patient in declining health. The patient was Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian dissident who claimed to have been poisoned on the direct orders of Vladimir Putin. 

During the police interviews, Alexander provided meticulous details from his hospital bedside about the events leading up to his illness. His information would ultimately help detectives track down two Russians who had poisoned Litvinenko with Polonium 210, a highly toxic radioactive substance.   

The iconic photograph taken of Litvinenko at his bedside generated international headlines, and after he was pronounced dead on November 23, Scotland Yard launched its murder investigation.    

The drama also focuses upon the story of Marina, Alexander’s fearless, dignified widow who fought tirelessly to persuade the British Government to publicly name her husband’s killers and acknowledge the role of the Russian State in his murder.

Litvinenko

Neil Maskell (right) plays Scotland Yard officer, Brent Hyatt (Image credit: ITV)

Who's in the Litvinenko cast?

David Tennant, who's recent screen credits include Des, will lead the cast.

“After David’s incredible performance as Dennis Nilsen I’m delighted he returns to ITV to play Alexander Litvinenko in the incredible story of his murder," says ITV head of drama, Polly Hill. "George Kay’s scripts are brilliant and this is an important story that documents a long police investigation and a powerful campaign for justice by his wife Marina.  It is going to make a compelling drama and I am proud to have it on ITV.”

Litvinenko

Mark Bonnar will play police officer, Clive Timmons (Image credit: Getty)

Margarita Levieva (The Deuce, The Blacklist) plays Marina, Litvinenko's fearless and dignified widow, while Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Quiz) and Neil Maskell (Small Axe, Utopia) play Scotland Yard officers, Clive Timmons and Brent Hyatt.

What else do we know about Litvinenko?

The four part drama is produced with the support of many of the key individuals involved in the investigation and subsequent public enquiry including former Scotland Yard officers, Clive Timmons and Brent Hyatt, along with Ben Emmerson QC and Alexander’s family. 

“Making this one is a privilege," says Executive Producer, ITV Studios, Patrick Spence. "It's 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.”

Is there a trailer for Litvinenko? 

Yes there is! Check it out below... 

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.