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

David Tennant, who will star as Litvinenko.
David Tennant stars as Litvinenko. (Image credit: David M. Benett/Getty Images)

David Tennant will take on the role of Alexander Litvinenko in an upcoming ITV drama, which tells the real-life story of the former Russian Federal Security Services and KGB officer's poisoning. 

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

Litvinenko release date

Filming is due to start this autumn and a 2022 release date looks likely, but we'll keep you updated as soon as we hear more. 


David Tennant won an NTA for his portrayal of Dennis Nilsen (Image credit: ITV)

What's the plot of Litvinenko? 

The drama will relate 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 Nov. 23, Scotland Yard launched its murder investigation.    

Screenwriter George Kay outlined the remarkable story in a statement...

“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.”

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.

Who stars in Litvinenko? 

David Tennant, who recently won an NTA Award for his portrayal of serial killer Dennis Nilsen in ITV's Des, has enjoyed a glittering screen career, playing Doctor Who and starring in hit shows such as Broadchurch and Good Omens

“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.”


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

Margarita Levieva (The Deuce, The Blacklist) will play Marina, Litvinenko's fearless and dignified widow, while Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Quiz) and Neil Maskell (Small Axe, Utopia) will 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? 

There's no trailer at the moment, but we'll be sure to post it here when it lands.