“THERE are so many parts to this and that’s what makes it an incredible story to re-tell.
“But what is so compelling is the personal tragedy of this family.
“The fact it has such a global significance is maybe why we’re able to tell this story. I think what makes it really count is the repercussions of it and how it changed Marina’s life in particular.”
David Tennant talking to me about his role as Alexander Litvinenko in new four part drama Litvinenko, now available to watch in the UK here on ITVX.
The former Russian Federal Security Services and KGB officer’s 2006 death from Polonium-210 poisoning in central London triggered one of the most complex and dangerous investigations in the history of the Metropolitan Police.
Litvinenko – an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin – having moved to London from Russia with his wife Marina and son Anatoli. All British citizens at the time he was poisoned.
Polonium-210 is described as one of the most toxic substances known to humanity leading to a slow death from radiation poisoning and multiple organ failure.
As co-producer Richard Kerbaj explains: “We know that two men – Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun – were the killers responsible for Litvinenko’s murder. That was made very clear in the 2016 public inquiry report and re-emphasised in a 2021 judgement by the European Court of Human Rights. And that he was probably murdered on the personal orders of Vladimir Putin.”
The story of how Litvinenko gave police the evidence to investigate his own murder, the detectives who kept their promise to a dying man and Marina’s fight for justice is told in this exceptional drama.
While the subject matter has never been more relevant given Putin’s invasion and bombardment of Ukraine along with numerous other subsequent killings of individuals who have spoken out against him.
As the writer George Kay says: “In the end, though, this is simply a story about standing up to bullies. A story about good people standing up to bad. Timely, yes, but timeless too.”
You can read my interviews for ITV with David Tennant (Alexander Litvinenko), Margarita Levieva (Marina Litvinenko), Mark Bonnar (Det Supt Clive Timmons), Neil Maskell (Det Insp Brent Hyatt), executive producer Patrick Spence, executive producer Lucy Bedford, co-producer Richard Kerbaj and director Jim Field Smith at the link below.