Michael Gambon to star as Sir Winston Churchill in ITV’s Churchill’s Secret

Lindsay Duncan will play the Prime Minister's wife in the feature length film, which recalls the stroke he suffered in the summer of 1953

Michael Gambon is to join a long line of distinguished actors, from Timothy Spall to Brendan Gleeson, as he takes on the role of Sir Winston Churchill in ITV’s new drama Churchill’s Secret.

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Based on Jonathan Smith’s novel The Churchill Secret: KBO, the feature length film catches up with the Prime Minister in the summer of 1953, during his second term in 10 Downing Street.

It was during those months that Churchill – now in his late 70s – suffered a life-threatening stroke that was kept secret from the world. The drama reveals his battle to recover from it, as seen through the eyes of his young nurse, Millie Appleyard.

Lindsay Duncan is on board as Churchill’s long-suffering wife Clemmie, who desperately hopes the stroke will force Winston to retire, while his political friends and foes scheme to decide who will succeed him.

Family drama will be at the centre of the production, as Churchill’s children descend on their home at Chartwell when their father’s chances of survival appear slim.

“Churchill’s Secret is the extraordinary and compelling story of how one of our country’s most famous political figures battled back from life-threatening illness to hold on to power,” said ITV’s director of Drama Steve November.

“We’re delighted to commission Churchill’s Secret from Daybreak Pictures and to be working with Michael Gambon as Sir Winston Churchill and Lindsay Duncan as his wife Clemmie.”

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Smith’s novel will be adapted for the small screen by Stewart Harcourt (Love & Marriage, Treasure Island, Poirot) with filming set to begin this June in London and at Churchill’s principal family home, Chartwell in Kent.