David Tennant and Aidan Turner to star in Jilly Cooper adaptation Rivals
David Tennant, Aidan Turner, Claire Rushbrook, Danny Dyer and more have joined the cast of Rivals.
It's safe to say that upcoming Disney+ series, Rivals, boasts one hell of a star-studded cast. The upcoming series is based on the iconic novel of the same name by Jilly Cooper, and is a story of deception, wit, romance and some truly unforgettable characters.
Well, we now finally know who will be bringing these characters to life onscreen and the cast of Rivals is one jam-packed full of familiar faces including the likes of Aidan Turner, Danny Dyer and more.
The story itself follows the cut throat world of independent TV in 1986, seen here in the series (and book) through the lens of Corinium television.
Set in the fictional county of Rutshire, it's there that the tense rivalry between two men, Rupert Campbell-Black and Lord Tony Baddingham, starts to come to a head. They will be played by Alex Hassell (The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Boys) and David Tennant (Doctor Who, Good Omens) respectively, with both characters promising to be ambitious, egocentric and charismatic. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, as their power struggle continues, the future of Corinium hangs in the balance and many of those around these two men become caught up in the drama that ensues.
One of those major characters being Declan O’Hara, who will be played by Aidan Turner (Poldark, The Suspect). He's an intelligent TV presenter, but is also a glamorous megastar with a temper. He's been convinced by Baddingham (Tennant) to leave the BBC for Corinium TV but feels as though he's been duped when Baddingham doesn't deliver on his promises and soon, O'Hara is on a revenge mission of his own.
Starring as his wife, Maud O'Hara, is Victoria Smurfit (Bloodlands, Once Upon A Time) who is a former actress herself and together, the pair are parents to Taggie, played by Bella Maclean (Sex Education), and Caitlin, Catriona Chandler (Pistol).
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But that's not all in this intricate onscreen world of the '80s TV industry. Also joining the cast will be Nafessa Williams (Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody) will star as American TV executive Cameron Cook, who is soon caught between Baddingham and Campbell-Black's power struggle but they both also seem to underestimate her.
Katherine Parkinson (Humans) stars as Lizzie Vereker, a romantic novelist regularly overlooked by her self-centred husband – who also happens to be a TV presenter – James Vereker, who will be played by Oliver Chris (The Crown).
In one of his first set of roles after his dramatic departure from Eastenders, Danny Dyer also joins the cast as Freddie Jones, who is loyal and loveable self-made electronics millionaire who is relatively outside his county's usual high-flying cliques. Joining him as his wife, Valerie, is Lisa McGrillis (Maternal) and together, they could be facing some life upheaval of their own after a business proposition comes their way.
Rounding out the cast is Claire Rushbrook (Sherwood) as Lady Monica Baddingham, Tony’s wife who has divested from the industry drama that comes her husband's way. Luke Pasqualino (Skins) also plays Basil ‘Bas’ Baddingham, Tony’s younger brother.
Emily Atack (The Emily Atack Show) plays the ambitious Sarah Stratton, the new wife to deputy prime minister, Paul Stratton, who will be played by Rufus Jones (W1A).
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With such a stellar cast, we're sure this drama will shape up to be just as dramatic as the novel, which saw a rival group emerge to pitch for the Corinium franchise, as well as relationships forged and destroyed. Of course, there's a heavy dose of sex, scandal and true love involved in the book as well so we can only wait and see what's lined up for this Disney+ adaptation.
Speaking about the new casting announcement, Jilly Cooper, Rivals author and executive producer for the series, said: "I’m utterly enchanted to be able to announce our all-star line-up for Rivals. Featuring some of the best acting talent that the British Isles has to offer, I couldn’t have dreamed of a better ensemble cast. I cannot wait to be on set and see them bring the characters I love so much to life.
"The minute we met with Alex we knew he’d perfectly embody my all-time hero, the iconic, racy, ruthless, and devastatingly handsome, Rupert Campbell-Black. Viewers are in for a treat!"
Rivals will be released on Disney Plus. Sign up to Disney+ now for £7.99 per month or £79.90 for a full year.