Michael Sheen cast as Coleen Rooney’s lawyer in ‘Wagatha Christie’ TV drama

Chanel Cresswell and Natalia Tena also star in Channel 4 dramatisation Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama

Michael Sheen has been cast as Coleen Rooney’s barrister in an upcoming two-part drama depicting the “Wagatha Christie” trial that gripped the nation last summer.

Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama, will broadcast on Channel 4 later this year star the Bafta-winning actor Chanel Cresswell (This is England, Trollied) as Rooney and Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones) as Rebekah Vardy, it has been announced.

Lauded for his talent for playing real-life figures, Sheen will take on the role of Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne, while Simon Coury will play Vardy’s lawyer Hugh Tomlinson KC, who has represented a “who’s who” of clients including King Charles III. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney is played by Dion Lloyd and Jamie Vardy is played by Marci Nagyszokolyai.

Named the #WagathaChristie case when it first unfolded on social media in 2019, it became one of the most expensive libel cases in history and made headlines around the world.

Vardy, wife of Leicester City and England footballer Jamie, eventually lost her case against Rooney, wife of the former England captain Wayne, in July. But the saga began three years ago when Rooney conducted a “sting” operation to find out who was leaking stories from her private Instagram account to journalists at the Sun.

Rooney identified the culprit with the now infamous words posted on Instagram: “It’s ……… Rebekah Vardy’s account”. Vardy denied passing information to the Sun and sued Rooney for libel in an attempt to restore her reputation. Vardy will have to pay up to £1.5m to Rooney in legal fees, it was revealed this month.

The upcoming TV drama uses verbatim court transcripts to recreate the high court case, which also catapulted the two sparring legal teams into the spotlight. Much like Rooney and Vardy, the lawyers’ every courtroom move was dissected and scrutinised in the press.

The drama’s director, Oonagh Kearney, said earlier this year: “This trial utterly captivated the public with its daily feed of entertaining exchanges and jaw-dropping reveals. But behind this, is a story of two women under constant public scrutiny, fighting for their reputations.”

Tom Popay, the creative director at Chalkboard, the TV production company behind the project, added: “The court case … captivated the entire nation but very few people actually got to see what happened inside the courtroom. We’re excited to bring the trial to life in such a unique way and we’re hoping we can get to the bottom of how this case fascinated and amazed so many.”


Nadia Khomami Arts and culture correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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