First look as David Tennant transforms into poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko

First look as David Tennant transforms into poisoned Russian spy and Putin critic Alexander Litvinenko in tense new ITVX drama

  • First look shows David Tennant transformed into defector Alexander Litvinenko
  • The former Russian KGB officer defected to the UK and died in agony in London
  • An UK investigation concluded the Russian state was behind the poisoning
  • The ITV series follows the officers who investigated the state-sponsored attack

The first look of David Tennant transformed into Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko, shown lying in a hospital bed before his death from poisoning in the first trailer for a new ITVX miniseries.

Litvinenko, a former Russian federal security services and KGB officer and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, died in agony in November 2006 after ingesting a rare radioactive substance.

The trailer opens with two police officers speaking with Tenant, playing Litvinenko, at the University College Hospital’s intensive care unit.

Footage shows the former FSB officer following his poisoning at the Pine Bar in the Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, shortly before his death and the following investigation.

The trailer opens with two police officers speaking with Tenant, playing Litvinenko, at the University College Hospital's intensive care unit

The trailer opens with two police officers speaking with Tenant, playing Litvinenko, at the University College Hospital’s intensive care unit

Footage shows the former FSB officer following his poisoning at the Pine Bar in the Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, shortly before his death and the following investigation

Footage shows the former FSB officer following his poisoning at the Pine Bar in the Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, shortly before his death and the following investigation

Litvinenko, a former Russian federal security services and KGB officer and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, died in agony in November 2006 after ingesting a rare radioactive substance

Litvinenko, a former Russian federal security services and KGB officer and outspoken critic of President Vladimir Putin, died in agony in November 2006 after ingesting a rare radioactive substance

The new drama on ITVX, ITV’s streaming service, will explore the story of the Metropolitan Police officers who investigated the case of Litvinenko, who was found in declining health at University College Hospital in London. 

Litvinenko will be played by Doctor Who star Tennant. His wife, Marina Litvinenko, will be portrayed by Russian-American actress Margarita Levieva who starred in The Deuce and The Blacklist.

ITV said former New Scotland Yard officers Clive Timmons and Brent Hyatt, along with Marina Litvinenko’s lawyer Ben Emmerson QC and the former spy’s family, have helped the production. 

Mark Bonnar, of Catastrophe and Quiz fame, will portray Timmons, while Utopia’s Neil Maskell takes on the role of Hyatt.

A UK public inquiry concluded in 2016 that Russians Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi, had deliberately poisoned Litvinenko by putting Polonium-210 into his drink at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair.

Headed by the former High Court judge Sir Robert Owen, the inquiry found the tea poisoning had ‘probably’ been carried out with the approval of the Russian president.

The new drama on ITVX will explore the story of the Metropolitan Police officers who investigated the case of Litvinenko

The new drama on ITVX will explore the story of the Metropolitan Police officers who investigated the case of Litvinenko

Headed by the former High Court judge Sir Robert Owen, the inquiry found the tea poisoning had 'probably' been carried out with the approval of the Russian president

Headed by the former High Court judge Sir Robert Owen, the inquiry found the tea poisoning had ‘probably’ been carried out with the approval of the Russian president

A UK public inquiry concluded in 2016 that Russians Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi, had deliberately poisoned Litvinenko by putting Polonium-210 into his drink at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair

A UK public inquiry concluded in 2016 that Russians Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi, had deliberately poisoned Litvinenko by putting Polonium-210 into his drink at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair

ITV said former New Scotland Yard officers Clive Timmons and Brent Hyatt, along with Marina Litvinenko's lawyer Ben Emmerson QC and the former spy's family, have helped the production

ITV said former New Scotland Yard officers Clive Timmons and Brent Hyatt, along with Marina Litvinenko’s lawyer Ben Emmerson QC and the former spy’s family, have helped the production

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) also ruled last year, following a case brought by the Litvinenko’s widow, that Russia was responsible for his killing.

Russia has always denied any involvement in the death and had refused to comply with international arrest warrants issued for Kovtun and Lugovoi.

Sir Robert’s inquiry said the use of the radioactive substance – which could only have come from a nuclear reactor – was a ‘strong indicator’ of state involvement and that the two men had probably been acting under the direction of the Russian security service the FSB, for which Litvinenko used to work. 

Written by George Kay, the four part drama will tell the story of the determined Scotland Yard Officers who worked for ten years to prove who was responsible for Mr Litvinenko's [the former spy is pictured in 2002]

Written by George Kay, the four part drama will tell the story of the determined Scotland Yard Officers who worked for ten years to prove who was responsible for Mr Litvinenko’s [the former spy is pictured in 2002]

The drama also focuses on the story of Marina, played by Margarita Levieva, Alexander’s fearless, dignified widow [the couple pictured on their wedding day in Moscow, 1994]

The drama also focuses on the story of Marina, played by Margarita Levieva, Alexander’s fearless, dignified widow [the couple pictured on their wedding day in Moscow, 1994]

Maria 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 [pictured in 2018]

Maria 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 [pictured in 2018]

Tennant takes on the role of former Russian Federal Security Services officer Alexander Litvinenko in upcoming ITVX drama, Litvinenko

Tennant takes on the role of former Russian Federal Security Services officer Alexander Litvinenko in upcoming ITVX drama, Litvinenko

Possible motives included Litvinenko’s work for British intelligence agencies after fleeing Russia, his criticism of the FSB, and his association with other Russian dissidents, while it was said there was also a ‘personal dimension’ to the antagonism between him and Putin.

Kovtun died in June of Covid-19 in Moscow, according to state-owned Russian news agency Tass.

Litvinenko will stream exclusively on ITVX this December.

 

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