U.K. free-to-air channel ITV greenlights four-part miniseries
LONDON — “Boardwalk Empire” and “American Hustle” thesp Jack Huston is to star as English monarch Charles II in Ecosse Films’ 17th-century period drama “The Great Fire of London,” which has been greenlit by U.K. free-to-air channel ITV.
The four-parter, which will unfold over four consecutive days, centers on Thomas Farriner, played by Andrew Buchan (“Broadchurch”), whose bakery in London’s Pudding Lane was at the heart of the catastrophic fire in 1666.
“Game of Thrones” and “Downton Abbey” thesp Rose Leslie will play Farriner’s sister in law, Sarah, with whom Farriner has a complex relationship.
Oliver Jackson-Cohen (“Dracula,” “Mr Selfridge”) plays Charles’ brother, James Duke of York, while Daniel Mays (“Mrs Biggs,” “Treasure Island,” “Public Enemies”) appears as diarist Samuel Pepys, a close confidante of the King. Perdita Weeks (“The Invisible Woman”) will play Pepys’ wife Elizabeth.
The cast also includes Andrew Tiernan (“Ripper Street”) and Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”).
Ecosse is best known for movies like Judi Dench starrer “Mrs Brown,” which picked up two Oscar noms, and Naomi Watts starrer “Diana.” Its recent TV dramas include the series “Mistresses” for the BBC in the U.K. and ABC in the U.S., and the miniseries “Fleming,” which stars Dominic Cooper, for BSkyB and BBC America.
ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute “The Great Fire of London” worldwide.
The miniseries, which is based on a story by novelist and political journalist Tom Bradby, lenses this month for nine weeks on location in Kent, Surrey, Oxfordshire and central London. Pyrotechnics and special effects, as opposed to CGI, will create the fire sequences as London burns.
Douglas Rae and Lucy Bedford will executive produce for Ecosse with Gina Cronk (“The White Queen”) producing. Jon Jones (“Lawless,” “Mr Selfridge”) is directing.
“In 1666 London was the greatest city in the world with a population of 300,000. In just four days The Great Fire destroyed nearly half the city and threatened the monarchy,” said Rae. “It’s a fascinating premise for a drama and creates the perfect backdrop for Tom Bradby to be at his most creative.”
Bradby (“Shadow Dancer”) has penned the first three episodes, and writing duo Chris Hurford and Tom Butterworth, who worked together on “Doc Martin” and “Ashes to Ashes,” have written episode four.