ITV has commissioned Ruth, a brand-new four-part drama, which will star Lucy Boynton (Why Didn't They Ask Evans?, The Ipcress File) and be based on the true story of Ruth Ellis.


The series will dramatise the story of Ruth Ellis as told in Carol Ann Lee’s biography A Fine Day for Hanging: The Real Ruth Ellis Story. It will be told over two parallel timelines, revealing secret truths about Ellis, the last woman to hang in Britain, and posing tantalising questions about what really happened in the months before Ruth killed her lover David Blakely.

It will be set primarily in 1955, depicting Ruth’s glamorous lifestyle as a young nightclub manageress in London, her abusive relationship with Blakely, and her arrest, trial and the subsequent legal fight to reprieve her before she was hanged aged 28 by infamous hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, in Holloway Prison.

The drama will also see Ruth’s solicitor, the low-status but intelligent and sensitive John Bickford, take on a pivotal role, as he starts to realise what Ruth has suffered and begins to believe that they must make a case for provocation. Bickford's casting has not yet been announced.

Ruth Ellis
Ruth Ellis Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The story has been adapted by Kelly Jones (Baptiste) and will be produced by Silverprint Pictures, whose previous works include Shetland and Vera.

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Boynton said of the role: "Ruth Ellis's story is a fascinating one. Both she and this complex case have always evoked a strong reaction, and with Kelly’s insightful scripts, I’m looking forward to bringing a new perspective to both familiar audiences as well as those who are unaware of her mark on British history."

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Drama Commissioner at ITV Huw Kennair-Jones said: "There is so much more to the Ruth Ellis story than we think we know.

"Kelly's scripts brilliantly explore not only how the emotional and physical abuse she suffered drove her to commit a terrible crime, but also the desperate last-minute attempt to save her as she and her supporters battled an unforgiving Establishment.

"We're thrilled to be working with Lucy Boynton and Silverprint Pictures to bring this compelling story to the ITV and ITVX audience."

Ruth will air on ITV1. If you're looking for something else to watch, visit our TV Guide or take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage.

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