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Toby Stephens, Timothy Spall Join BBC Cold War Drama ‘Summer of Rockets’

Toby Stephens, Keeley Hawes, Linus Roache and Timothy Spall will lead the cast of the BBC’s Cold War drama “Summer of Rockets.” Shooting is now underway around London and Oxford on the six-part drama, which is written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff.

The BBC has released a first-look image from the production featuring Stephens (pictured), who plays a 40-something Russian Jewish émigré, an inventor and designer of custom hearing aids. He is approached by British intelligence service MI5 and tasked with a secret mission to obtain information about a British government minister (Roache) and his wife (Hawes), whom he has recently befriended.

Set in Britain in 1958, when the country tested its first hydrogen bomb, the semi-autobiographical series is described by executive producer Helen Flint as being “hinged at the pivotal point of world history where the past and future are pulling in equal strength, and human beings, young and old, have little control over the eventual outcome.”

“It’s great to be working with Stephen Poliakoff again after such a long time,” said Stephens, who last worked with the writer-director on 2001 miniseries “Perfect Strangers.” “He’s such a unique and original voice in British television.”

The production marks Spall’s third collaboration with Poliakoff following “Perfect Strangers” and 1999 TV movie “Shooting the Past.” Also joining the production are Lucy Cohu and Lily Sacofsky as Stephens’ character’s wife and daughter, respectively; as well as Gary Beadle, Mark Bonnar, Ronald Pickup, Rose Ayling-Ellis, Greg Austin, Jordan Coulson, Matthew James Thomas and Fode Simbo.

The BBC’s Lucy Richer will executive produce “Summer of Rockets” alongside Flint for Little Island Productions. It was commissioned by controller of BBC Two, Patrick Holland, and controller of BBC Drama, Piers Wenger. BBC Studios is handling international distribution.

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