Reservoir Dogs star Tim Roth is to feature as a former ambulance driver who lost his son in the second Iraq War in a new drama by Jimmy McGovern, RadioTimes.com can reveal.
Roth will play Reg Keys in the 90-minute BBC1 film Reg.
As RadioTimes.com revealed last October, McGovern (pictured below) has long been interested in the story of Keys who stood against then Prime Minister Tony Blair in his Sedgefield constituency in the 2005 election (see clip below).
McGovern has got to know Keys, whom he describes as a “wonderful” and “fascinating” man who fought for justice for his son Lance Corporal Tom Keys, who was one of six British Red Caps killed when a mob descended on a police station in Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.
“They were badly equipped as well. They went to a hellhole with 50 rounds each and no radio, that’s why they were killed,” the writer told RadioTimes.com last year. He added that the title Reg is designed to refer both to the first name of the main character as well as the shortened Latin word for Queen, Regina.
“I think he could even accept that if they weren’t there on a lie. But when it’s both, when they were there on a lie and they are badly equipped and are sent to a hellhole on nothing, it’s tough for a man to take I think. But he is a fascinating man.
“I liked that notion of an ordinary man taking on the British Prime Minister. It’s just wonderful it happened that way. A lot of people will point out that that’s the strength of Britain. But I think that’s baloney. It’s the strength of Reg Keys. He did it against the odds. He did it in spite of the system not through the system.”
Anna Maxwell Martin (Becoming Jane, Philomena, Death Comes to Pemberley) will play Reg’s wife Sally in the film which is being directed by David Blair (Common, Accused, The Street).
Speaking of the casting, McGovern said: “It was an honour to meet Reg Keys, a truly remarkable man, and it has been a privilege to tell this part of his story.
“When Bob Pugh and I finished the script, they asked me who, in an ideal world, would play the parts of Reg and Sally. Tim Roth and Anna Maxwell Martin, I replied, never dreaming we’d get either. We got both and I am absolutely over the moon.”
Polly Hill, the BBC’s controller of drama commissioning, added: “To have stellar talent, Tim Roth and Anna Maxwell Martin, playing such important and pivotal roles is testament to Jimmy’s honest and gripping writing. With the combination of talent and such a heart-wrenching true story, Reg is sure to bring something unique, special and memorable to BBC1.”