Six months after Litvinenko launched on streaming service ITVX, the series is finally airing on ITV1 this week.


Written by Lupin's George Kay, the drama follows the true story of the Metropolitan Police's investigation into the fatal poisoning of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

It also focuses on Litvinenko's widow Marina, who fought tirelessly to convince the British Government to publicly name her husband's murderers and acknowledge the Russian State's role in his death.

David Tennant stars as Alexander Litvinenko in the drama alongside Mark Bonnar and Margarita Levieva.

Read on for everything you need to know about how to watch the true crime drama.

More like this

Litvinenko release date

Margarita Levieva as Marina.
Margarita Levieva as Marina in Litvinenko.

The four-part drama is airing air on ITV1 on consecutive nights starting from Monday 19th June at 9pm.

A documentary special titled Litvinenko: The Mayfair Poisoning will follow at the same time on Friday 23rd June.

Litvinenko premiered on ITV's new streaming service ITVX earlier in 2023.

Litvinenko cast

The following cast members have been confirmed:

  • David Tennant as Alexander Litvinenko
  • Margarita Levieva as Marina, Litvinenko's widow
  • Mark Bonnar as Scotland Yard officer Clive Timmons
  • Neil Maskell as Scotland Yard officer Brent Hyatt

Speaking about Tennant's casting, ITV head of drama, Polly Hill, said: “After David’s incredible performance as Dennis Nilsen, I’m delighted he returns to ITV to play Alexander Litvinenko in the incredible story of his murder."

She continued: "George Kay’s scripts are brilliant and this is an important story that documents a long police investigation and a powerful campaign for justice by his wife Marina. It is going to make a compelling drama and I am proud to have it on ITV.”

David Tennant
David Tennant will play Alexander Litvinenko Getty

Speaking on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Interval Drinks podcast (via The Independent), Tennant said that he had found playing Litvinenko tough, as he had spent time with the real-life Marina.

“Litvinenko stayed with me because of meeting Marina and being so aware that this is the life she is still living,” he said.

“We are recreating something that happened relatively recently, that was devastating to her and to her life and has entirely transformed what her life since has become. I felt the responsibility of that, of getting that right. Just the horrors that she lived through and that that story signifies, our world is still living through.”

He added: “It’s so relevant to the world we’re living in, what happened to that man and the things that he spent his life talking about, and that his wife Marina, who is an extraordinary human, is still doing. The reason we tell that story is because it’s so raw and vivid and important.”

What is Litvinenko about?

Litvinenko, who fled to Britain after leaving Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB, died in November 2006 after being poisoned with polonium-210.

The upcoming series will dramatise the Metropolitan Police's investigation into his death, which began in November 2006 when two police officers were called to London's University College Hospital to interview a rapidly deteriorating patient. It was Litvinenko, who claimed to have been poisoned on the direct orders of Vladimir Putin.

The information he provided would ultimately help the detectives track down the two Russians responsible for his poisoning.

Litvinenko passed away 22 days after being poisoned.

In a statement, writer Kay said: "In late 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was a living witness to his own murder. He spent his dying days entrusting the Metropolitan Police with the details of what happened to him.

"It took those police and his remarkable widow Marina Litvinenko a decade to have those claims ratified. Their stamina, hard work and bravery are what make this not only an essential story of our times but a privilege to be asked to write."

Is there a trailer for Litvinenko?

There is, and you can watch it below:

For more news, interviews and features, visit our Drama hub, or find something to watch now with our TV Guide.

Take part in the Screen Test, a project from Radio Times and the Universities of Sussex and Brighton, to explore the role of television and audio in our lives.


Try Radio Times magazine today and get 12 issues for only £1 with delivery to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.