Hugh Laurie is back on the BBC as controversial Conservative politician Peter Laurence in David Hare’s new political thriller Roadkill.
A narcissist caught up in a wave of scandals, Laurence’s political ambitions are frustrated when personal revelations are unearthed by his adversaries.
Written by Hare (The Hours), the four-part drama has a serious roster of talent in tow, with the likes of Helen McCory (Peaky Blinders), Saskia Reeves (Us), Iain De Caestecker (Us) – all of whom play characters who become entangled in Peter’s scandal.
Read on for everything you need to know about upcoming BBC One drama Roadkill.
When is Roadkill on TV?
The four-part thriller began on Sunday 18th October and airs Sundays at 9pm on BBC One.
In the USA, it will premiere on PBS Masterpiece on Sunday 1st November at 9pm.
What is Roadkill about?
Hugh Laurie plays Peter Laurence, a self-made Conservative minister who “embod[ies] the fictional future of the Conservative party”.
Charismatic and self-interested, Peter is hit by a series of public revelations about his private life and his work as a minister. However, Peter is untroubled by guilt as he attempts to out-run his enemies and his past, with his eyes on the ultimate political prize.
(And if you’re wondering: no, Hugh Laurie’s character is ‘not based on anyone’.)
All four episodes will be helmed by Line of Duty director Michael Keillor, while the series is written by screenwriter David Hare (Collateral, The Reader).
“I first worked with Hugh Laurie in 1987 when he set off on his riveting change of direction from adroit comedian to commanding dramatic actor,” Hare said. “I can’t wait to see him embody the fictional future of the Conservative party in Roadkill.”
Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama said: “Roadkill is a thriller which explores the relationship between personal morality and political power.
“Hugh Laurie is an incredible actor who will play this fictional role with utter conviction, and it is a great honour to work once again with David Hare and The Forge to bring this brilliantly sharp and funny drama to BBC One.”
The BBC’s Roadkill cast is led by comic-turned-dramatic actor Hugh Laurie, who plays ruthless politician Peter Laurence. Laurie is known for a wide variety of roles, ranging from comic turns in Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, to Veep, The Night Manager and his Emmy-winning role in House.
Peaky Blinders actress Helen McCrory has been cast as the Prime Minister, Dawn Ellison.
They will be joined by a host of stars including Dublin Murders’ Sarah Greene, Poldark’s Pip Torrens, Westworld’s Sidse Babett Knudsen and Miranda’s Patricia Hodge.
Other names include Saskia Reeves (Us), Ophelia Lovibond (W1A), Iain De Caestecker (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), Katie Leung (Chimerica), Olivia Vinall (The Woman in White), Pippa Bennett-Warner (Harlots), Shalom Brune-Franklin (Our Girl), Millie Brady (The Last Kingdom) and Danny Ashok (Deep Water, Capital).
Roadkill reviews have found the BBC series to be a little hit and miss.
In RadioTimes.com‘s three-star Roadkill review, we call it “a perfectly serviceable drama” but note that the inherent problem is none of the scandal Hugh Laurie’s Peter Laurence faces, or the way in which he sails through it, seems like biting political commentary anymore.
“David Hare has said that Peter Laurence is ‘not based on anyone’, and it’s true that he doesn’t resemble any one person, but he’s also clearly recognisable as a politician for the modern age,” our Drama Editor Eleanor Bley Griffiths writes
“But Roadkill is saved, to some extent, by the calibre of the actors involved,” she adds. “Hugh Laurie is predictably excellent as a Conservative MP with a populist streak and his own radio show; his performance is magnetic, with flashes of charm and callousness; both likeable and utterly detestable.”
The BBC released the first trailer for Roadkill at the start of October, teasing Hugh Laurie’s performance as the controversial yet charismatic politician Peter Laurence whose professional and personal life starts to unravel after a deep, dark secret comes to light.
While the clip is just 50 seconds long, we see a seemingly unrattled Peter meet with someone who “says she’s [his] daughter” before telling the Prime Minister’s office that he’s “squeaky clean”.