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Alexander Litvinenko assassination to become a TV drama

Wolf Hall producers Company Pictures are preparing a series based on the shocking killing of the former KGB Spy in 2006

Published: Sunday, 13th November 2016 at 7:24 am

The shocking murder of former KGB Spy Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 is poised to become a British TV drama.


The company behind the acclaimed BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is developing the story which it compares to a real life James Bond.

The planned three-part adaptation is based on the book A Very Expensive Poison, written by journalist Luke Harding, which covers the web of complex events that led to the killing of Litvinenko with the rare radioactive poison polonium 210.

The drama will cover the investigation that followed the killing which involved the British secret service and Scotland Yard.

A public inquiry overseen by former judge Sir Robert Owen concluded in January 2016 that the activist's agonising death was orchestrated with the approval of the Kremlin, which the Russians continue to deny.

“The book is a truly remarkable real-life fiction that reads like a Bond film,” Judy Counihan, head of Company Pictures, told the Observer. “I cannot think of a more contemporary piece of drama. It mixes global power dynamics, dogged British detective work and the importance of democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law to protect us from the rise of demagogues. This isn’t fiction, however, and that alone is chilling.”

Harding also co-wrote the book on which Oliver Stone has based his latest film Snowden, which is to be released in the UK next month.


The Fifth Estate, the 2013 film which starred Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange, was also based on Harding’s book WikiLeaks, which he co-wrote with investigative reporter David Leigh.


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