Winston Churchill (Michael Gambon)
In the summer of 1953, Britain’s renowned wartime leader is two years into his second term as Prime Minister. After he suffers a life-threatening stroke, news of his condition is kept a secret from the public, and he is taken to the family home of Chartwell to recuperate. As his wife Clemmie begs him to give up on politics and the cabinet schemes for his replacement, Churchill fights for his health and his position in government.
Where have I seen Michael Gambon before?
Most recently Gambon has starred in the BBC’s 2015 adaptation of The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, although he is more famous for his enchanting role as Professor Dumbledore in six of the seven Harry Potter films. Becoming a household name after appearing in Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective, the award-winning actor has starred across the board in crime caper Layer Cake, Western film Open Range, and animation film The Fantastic Mr. Fox, just to name a few!
Clementine Churchill (Lindsay Duncan)
Clementine (Clemmie), Winston’s impassioned wife, orders him to be removed from Downing Street after he collapses during an after dinner speech. Whilst he plans a return to number 10 as quickly as possible, Clemmie tries to convince him to retire from his strenuous role as PM for the sake of his health and his family.
Where have I seen Lindsay Duncan before?
Lindsay Duncan has won two Olivier Awards for her work onstage, but in film she has notably featured alongside Jonny Depp in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. She's also appeared in Richard Curtis’ most recent rom-com About Time, and in 2013 starred alongside Jim Broadbent in the bittersweet Le Weekend. You may also recognise her voice (or maybe not), from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace as the android TC-14!
Nurse Appleyard (Romola Garai)
Millie Appleyard is the fictional nurse who is brought in to help care for Winston. Her fictional character is that of a young, no-nonsense Yorkshire woman whose working class background creates a sharp contrast to her aristocratic patient. She is trusted to keep Churchill’s condition a secret.
Where have I seen Romola Garai before?
Two-time Golden Globe nominee Garai has appeared as Emma Woodhouse in the BBC drama series Emma and as Bel Rowley in The Hour. You may also have seen her in One Day, adapted from the David Nicholl novel, and she had a supporting part in Suffragette last year, starring Meryl Streep and Carey Mulligan
Lord Moran (Bill Paterson)
As personal physician to Winston, Lord Moran agrees with Clementine that Winston needs to get away and rest. He leaves with the small party and conducts his recovery back to health. Moran has already aided Winston through several other strokes before, as well as helping him deal with his depression, known infamously as 'his black dog days'.
Where have I seen Bill Paterson before?
This Scottish actor has recently had minor roles in the BBC miniseries 37 Days and the time travel drama Outlander, but previous to that had a role in the 2006 film Amazing Grace based on the life of William Wilberforce. Paterson has also featured in The Killing Fields and the Roald Dahl classic children’s book The Witches. He played the loveable Private Frazer in the recent film adaptation of Dad's Army.
Randolph Churchill (Matthew Macfadyen)
Churchill's eldest son comes to Chartwell uncertain of whether Winston will pull through. He was keen to follow his father into a career in politics, but by 1953 his reputation was already pretty hopeless as he hadn’t been in parliament for nearly a decade.
Where Have I Seen Matthew Macfadyen Before?
He was Tom Quinn on the BBC spy thriller Spooks, but since then has starred in the ongoing Ripper Street and the Channel 4 adaptation of William Boyd’s Any Human Heart. A regular in period dramas, he's taken on the role of Mr. Darcy in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice and has been equally dashing in The Three Musketeers and Anna Karenina.
Diana Churchill (Tara Fitzgerald)
The first child of the Churchill’s, Diana suffered from several nervous breakdowns and was another of the Churchill children to feel the burden of living up to their father’s towering reputation.
Where have I seen Tara Fitzgerald before?
Fitzgerald featured in the 2006 horror In a Dark Place, but took almost a decade out of film until she appeared in the British crime biopic Legend starring Tom Hardy as the Kray twins. She is probably more recognisable for her TV work as Dr. Eve Lockhart in Waking the Dead and Selyse Baratheon in Game of Thrones (wife of Stannis Baratheon for those in the know).
Sarah Churchill (Rachael Stirling)
Sarah was the second daughter of Winston and Clementine, and also comes to her father’s bedside on hearing about his condition. She had a career as an actress and appeared in several films throughout the 1940’s and 50’s, starring opposite Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding.
Where have I seen Rachael Stirling before?
Rachael's notable film appearances include the 2000 British rom-com Maybe Baby and the darker retelling of the Brother’s Grimm fairytale Snow White and the Huntsman. She was Nancy Ashley in the BBC drama Tipping the Velvet, and has more recently featured in ITV’s The Bletchley Circle.
Jock Colville (Patrick Kennedy)
Civil servant and loyal aide to Churchill who instigates the operation of moving him secretly to Chartwell. He was crucial in keeping the cabinet oblivious to Winston’s condition and handling the day-to-day running of the country in his absence.
Where Have I seen Patrick Kennedy Before?
Patrick (above, out of character) appeared opposite Keira Knightley in Atonement and has popped up in Steven Spielberg’s Warhorse and the sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. He's has done TV on both sides of the Atlantic, including a stint in Boardwalk Empire and an appearance on Downton Abbey.
Christopher Soames (Christian McKay)
Conservative MP who became the son-in-law of Winston Churchill after marrying his youngest daughter Mary. Helped Jock Colville run the country in Churchill’s absence as his private secretary.
Where have I seen Christian McKay before?
Best known for portraying Orson Welles in the 2008 film Me and Orson Welles, and receiving a Bafta nomination in the process. His other guises include cardinal Sforza in the TV series The Borgias and the scientist Roger Penrose in the award-winning The Theory of Everything.
Mary Soames (Daisy Lewis)
Wife of Christopher Soames and another of the Churchill siblings gathering at Chartwell. She went on to write a successful biography of her mother, Clementine Churchill, and dined with the Queen on her Golden Jubilee. She died recently on 31st May 2014.
Where have I seen Daisy Lewis before?
Lewis (above, out of character) has been in a handful of low budget films, including a role in the 2012 British crime thriller Pusher. She’s appeared in a one-off episode of Doctor Who and the detective drama Lewis, but is best known to many as the local schoolteacher Miss Bunting in Donwton Abeey.
Anthony Eden (Alex Jennings)
Eden was foreign secretary to Churchill and had ambitions of being PM himself (which he would achieve in 1955). He was the second most powerful man in the country and would have stood in for Winston were he not recovering from gallstone surgery himself.
Where have I seen Alex Jennings before?
Winner of three Olivier Awards, including his performance as Henry Higgins in the 2003 production of My Fair Lady. Jennings has done an array of TV as well as playing Prince Charles in The Queen and appearing in the film adaptation of Alan Bennett’s The Lady in the Van (as the playwright himself).
Churchill's Secret is on at 8pm on ITV