Succession star Matthew Macfadyen leads the cast of new ITV1 drama Stonehouse as the titular politician who faked his own death in a bid to start a new life in Australia.


This three-part series, written by A Very English Scandal author John Preston, follows Stonehouse's marriage to Barbara Smith, affair with assistant Sheila Buckley, alleged stint spying for the Czech secret service and subsequent disappearance in the sea off Miami, Florida.

The Labour MP for Wednesbury and Walsall North was at one point one of the party's most promising up and comers before his unravelling.

Macfadyen recently addressed similarities between his latest role and his fan favourite Succession character Tom Wambsgans.

Speaking at a launch event for the series, Macfadyen explained to and other press: "There's a bit of cross pollination, I suppose. They're a long way from each other, but they both like the trappings of power and being near power."

He continued: "And both are sort of out of their depth. So there was stuff to be mined, which is similar: two sorts of grotesques."

However, he noted there was "something very sympathetic" about Stonehouse, unlike Wambsgans. "He was very personable, by all accounts very lovely to be with, and funny and quite charismatic," he said of Stonehouse. "But also, he wasn't without vanity and he liked the trappings of his position the more success he had in party politics."

Here's your full introduction to the Stonehouse cast and the real-life figures they're playing.

Who's in the cast of Stonehouse?

Matthew Macfadyen plays John Stonehouse

John Stonehouse (left) and Matthew Macfadyen in Stonehouse (right)
John Stonehouse (left) and Matthew Macfadyen in Stonehouse (right) Roger Jackson/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/ITV

Who is John Stonehouse? John Stonehouse was a Labour MP between the years of 1957-1976, representing first the constituency of Wednesbury and later Walsall North. As a charismatic and relatively young figure in the party, he gathered early momentum in his political career, securing positions including Minister of State for Technology and Postmaster General. However, that promise fizzled out when Stonehouse became embroiled in a bizarre scandal, having attempted to fake his death and start a new life in Australia. Later, allegations emerged that he had been an informant for the Czech secret service.

What else has Matthew Macfadyen been in? Recently, Macfadyen has become known the world over for his acclaimed performance in business drama Succession, where he plays hapless executive Tom Wambsgans. Previously, he had major roles in Spooks, where he met eventual wife Keeley Hawes, and crime thriller Ripper Street, while more recently he portrayed Major Charles Ingram in comedy-drama Quiz. On the big screen, he recently appeared in Colin Firth war flick Operation Mincemeat.

Keeley Hawes plays Barbara Stonehouse

Barbara Stonehouse (left) and Keeley Hawes in Stonehouse (right)
Barbara Stonehouse (left) and Keeley Hawes in Stonehouse (right) Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/ITV

Who is Barbara Stonehouse? Barbara Stonehouse is John's first wife, with whom he had a 30-year marriage and three children. She was left devastated by his apparent death just off a beach in Miami, Florida, and was blindsided when it emerged that the tragedy had been faked. Barbara and John divorced in 1978, shortly after his conviction on fraud charges.

What else has Keeley Hawes been in? Hawes has previously acted opposite real-life husband Matthew Macfadyen in BBC One's spy thriller Spooks. She may be better known to viewers for her powerhouse performance in crime drama Line of Duty, where she played enigmatic cop Lindsay Denton. She reunited with Jed Mercurio for his suspenseful series Bodyguard, while other recent projects include The Missing, The Durrells, Honour, Finding Alice and It's A Sin.

Emer Heatley plays Sheila Buckley

Sheila Buckley (left) and Emer Heatley in Stonehouse (right)
Sheila Buckley (left) and Emer Heatley in Stonehouse (right) Peter Cade/Central Press/Getty Images/ITV

Who is Sheila Buckley? Sheila Buckley is John's assistant, who works closely with him during his days as a sitting member of Parliament. It isn't long before the two of them start having an affair, which is exposed to the public following John's arrest in Australia after a botched attempt at faking his death. Following his divorce from first wife Barbara, Sheila and John married and stayed together until his death in 1988, having one child of their own.

What else has Emer Heatley been in? Heatley is a relative newcomer to the screen with only one other credit to her name, that being the role of PC Cutts in recent crime drama Showtrial.

Kevin R McNally plays Harold Wilson

Harold Wilson (left) and Kevin R McNally in Stonehouse (right)
Harold Wilson (left) and Kevin R McNally in Stonehouse (right) Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/ITV

Who is Harold Wilson? Harold Wilson was initially Prime Minister of the United Kingdom for six years between 1964 and 1970. After a stint in opposition, he was returned to the office from 1974 to 1976, which proved to be a tumultuous time in British politics.

What else has Kevin R McNally been in? McNally has previously portrayed Harold Wilson in 2015 crime biopic Legend, which starred Tom Hardy as the notorious Kray Twins. He is probably better known for his recurring role in Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, where he played Joshamee Gibbs, a frequent ally to lead character Captain Jack Sparrow. He is also known for roles in Unforgotten, Catherine the Great and The Crown, where he portrayed another political figure in Bernard Ingham, press secretary to Margaret Thatcher. He also played Professor Eustacius Jericho in Doctor Who: Flux.

Dorothy Atkinson plays Betty Boothroyd

Betty Boothroyd (left) and Dorothy Atkinson in Stonehouse (right)
Betty Boothroyd (left) and Dorothy Atkinson in Stonehouse (right) Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images/ITV

Who is Betty Boothroyd? At the time of the Stonehouse scandal, Betty Boothroyd was the Labour MP for West Bromwich West and serving as assistant Government Whip. She would go on to have a successful career in politics which continues to this day, when she sits as a crossbench peer in the House of Lords at age 93.

What else has Dorothy Atkinson been in? Atkinson currently plays Diana Brompton on Channel 5 drama All Creatures Great and Small, while she also appeared earlier this year in BritBox's Magpie Murders. Her other recent projects include DC Comics thriller Pennyworth, period drama Harlots and acclaimed sitcom Mum, the latter two both co-starring Lesley Manville.

Richard Dillane plays Mackenzie

Richard Dillane plays Mackenzie in Stonehouse
Richard Dillane plays Mackenzie in Stonehouse ITV

What else has Richard Dillane been in? Dillane is probably best known for playing Hemberg in Netflix's Young Wallander, but viewers may recognise him from guest roles in high-profile dramas including Andor, The Crown, Call the Midwife, The Last Kingdom and Outlander.

Stonehouse is coming to ITV1 on Monday 2nd January 2023. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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