Paula Milne’s writing never fails to attract the big guns. Endgame starred William Hurt and Jonny Lee Miller while The Politian’s Husband signed power pairing David Tennant and Emily Watson, so it comes as no surprise that the cast for her new Cold War thriller is equally star-studded.
Andrew Scott, Romola Garai, Simon Russell Beale and Charlie Cox are the leading names set to appear in Legacy – a single 90-minute film for BBC2 written by the award-winning writer.
Based on the novel by Alan Judd, the film follows the story of young spy Charles Thoroughgood (Cox) who has barely begun his training at MI6 when his university connection with a Soviet diplomat, Viktor Koslov (Scott), lands him on a case.
Charles’s bosses are hoping Koslov can be turned and assign their young charge to the task, but when he makes contact he uncovers the disturbing truth about his father’s complex past.
As he is drawn further into the machinations of international intelligence, Charles embarks upon a forbidden love with someone dangerously close to the dark world he now inhabits.
Romola Garai is to play Anna and Simon Russell Beale appears as Hookey, with Olivia Grant (Lark Rise to Candleford) also joining the cast as Eva, Christian McKay (Rush) as Hugo and Tessa Peake Jones (Marchlands) as Joyce.
The project will see Milne reunited with her Endgame director Pete Travis for the first time since their award-winning 2009 collaboration.
“Legacy falls well within the genre of the British spy thriller but has an extraordinary personal twist,” said Milne. “For what is espionage if not betrayal at the most fundamental level of human interactions? When that occurs within a family… It’s dynamite!”
BBC’s executive producer, Lucy Richer, added, “Charlie is going to make a fantastic Charles Thoroughgood and I’m delighted to have such a talented cast on board. Leading on from the recent success of drama on BBC2, Paula’s script is guaranteed to make Legacy the most bold and ambitious drama imaginable.”
Legacy has been commissioned as part of BBC2’s Cold War moment which will also include factual commissions exploring the cultural and political changes during that period of history.