Downton Abbey makers developing series about Winston Churchill

The creators of ITV's hit period drama are set to turn their cameras on a young Churchill as he takes his first steps into politics

Carnival Films, the company responsible for the making of ITV’s hit show, is set to bring period drama fans another treat, in the form of a series about Britain’s iconic prime minister Winston Churchill. 


Based on Michael Shelden’s biography, Young Titan, the series will follow the wartime PM-to-be’s early years between 1901 and 1915, during which the Harrow-educated aristrocrat met and married his wife Clemmie, and took his first steps into politics, quickly rising from MP for Oldham to First Lord of the Admiralty. 

There’s no doubt that Carnival Films, who can name Murder on the Home Front, Any Human Heart, Poirot and The Hollow Crown among their other historical drama successes, will produce an aesthetically pleasing piece of period drama – but who should play the man himself? 

Timothy Spall, who starred as Churchill in Oscar winning film The King’s Speech, was eager to reprise his role at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games… Perhaps he’d relish another shot at the part? 

Or, sticking with Downton Abbey (always a good idea if you ask us), Hugh Bonneville might make a rather good Churchill. He’s certainly used to playing a man of noble stock in Downton, and before you tell us it’s unfair to suggest he has the physique of the portly, cigar-smoking man of the history books, remember we are looking for a young Winston as he embarked on a career in politics. He was just 26 in 1900, and a few decades away from the rotund man of legend. Perhaps we should be looking for a younger generation of stars altogether…

Allen Leech, who plays Downton’s Tom Branson, actually looks quite a bit like the former PM in his youth. Or perhaps fellow Carnival Film alumni Sam Clafin, Rupert Penry Jones and Tom Hiddleston could be good bets?

What do you think? Let us know who should play a young Winston Churchill in the comment box below… 

Downton Abbey returns to ITV on Sunday at 9:00pm