What is the BBC’s Marilyn Monroe drama about? When will it be on TV, and who will star?

The writer of BBC medical thriller Trust Me has created a new series based on the final months of the star's life

Marilyn Monroe (Getty)

The BBC is set to explore the final months of Marilyn Monroe’s life in a new drama series, written by Trust Me and The Good Karma Hospital screenwriter Dan Sefton.

Advertisement

The series, with the working title The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe, will trace the run-up to Monroe’s death at the age of 36 from an overdose of sleeping pills.

Here’s everything we know about the drama so far:


When is The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe on TV?

In an April 2019 interview with RadioTimes.com, writer Dan Sefton revealed that he was “working with BBC Studios on it, with my company Seven Seas Films.” He also confirmed that the script for the series is already written.

An air date has yet to be announced – watch this space!


What is The Last Days of Marilyn Monroe about?

Some Like it Hot – Marilyn Monroe

The series will be based on segments of Keith Badman’s 2010 book The Final Years of Marilyn Monroe, and is set to detail Monroe’s real-life relationships with Hollywood studio bosses and US President John F Kennedy, before delving into the circumstances around her death in 1962.

“It’s not something I was interested in particularly until I read the book,” Sefton explained. “And the book was absolutely fascinating; very forensic breakdown of her last few months.”

He added: “I was just hooked. And I thought, ‘well if I feel like that, hopefully other people will feel like that’. And then obviously, there’s a lot of interest in her still, even 50-plus years since she died.”

On Monroe’s character in the series, Sefton said: “I feel she was complicated and difficult; she was also manipulated by a lot of powerful men.”

That aspect of her life makes the drama even more relevant, Sefton adds: “I think obviously with the #MeToo things in the media last year a lot as well, and you see it. Once your eyes are open to it you see it more and more often.”

The “ambitious” drama will be set “where the harsh glamour of 1960s Hollywood and the hard-edged politics of Washington intersect,” according to the BBC.

It will tackle “big themes such as power, love, loyalty and politics,” added BBC Studios’ Anne Pivcevic.


Who will play Marilyn Monroe?

Asked about the casting of Monroe, Sefton told RadioTimes.com: “We’d love to have someone who was a great actress; we’re trying to show it very much from her point of view. My personal feelings on it are that she’s a very complicated, interesting woman, and we haven’t really seen who she was.

Advertisement

“When you hear her talk at that time in her life, she’s intelligent, she’s funny, she’s witty. She’s not the caricature that’s being portrayed in a lot of things that have come out quite recently.”

Monroe’s life has been at the centre of a series of movies and TV series, including 2011 movie My Week with Marilyn, with Michelle Williams winning an Oscar nomination for her role. Gemma Arterton also played Marilyn Monroe in Sky Arts 2018 series Urban Myths.