Harold Wilson drama comes to BBC4

8am: Rome star Kenneth Cranham will play former Labour prime minister Harold Wilson in a new BBC4 docudrama written by journalist and author Francis Wheen. ByJohn Plunkett.

Rome star Kenneth Cranham will play former Labour prime minister Harold Wilson in a new BBC4 docudrama written by journalist and author Francis Wheen.

Celia Imrie and Gina McKee will co-star in The Lavender List, named after Wilson's notorious resignation honours list written by his personal secretary, Marcia Williams.

Cranham, who became a household name 20 years ago thanks to his title role in ITV's Shine On Harvey Moon, plays one of the leads in BBC2's swords and sandals epic. He has also appeared on the big screen in Layer Cake and Gangster No 1.

Forsyte Saga star McKee will play Williams, while Imrie, a costume drama veteran and long-time collaborator with Victoria Wood, will play Wilson's wife, Mary.

"I'm absolutely thrilled that Francis Wheen has penned such an extraordinary story about extraordinary people for BBC4," said the channel's controller, Janice Hadlow.

The cast also includes Neil Dudgeon as Wilson's press secretary Joe Haines, and Dominic Rowan as policy chief Bernard Donoughue.

Alison Willett is to produce The Lavender List, which will be broadcast on BBC4 next year.

The BBC said the drama would reveal "the aberrant behaviour of the last Wilson government, and exposes its rotten core: the PM's intense and warped relationship with Williams and the unbelievable control and power she had over Wilson".

Wheen, a former columnist for the Guardian, is also deputy editor of Private Eye and a regular panellist on Radio 4's The News Quiz.

A prolific author, his latest book is How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World: A Short History of Modern Delusions.

· To contact the MediaGuardian newsdesk email editor@mediatheguardian.com or phone 020 7239 9857

· If you are writing a comment for publication, please mark clearly "for publication".


John Plunkett

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
After The Killing: Danish drama Borgen comes to BBC4
A new import from Denmark – a political thriller – seeks to emulate the success of Sarah Lund and company

Vicky Frost

06, Jan, 2012 @4:35 PM

BBC4 ventures into costume drama

8am: Highbrow digital channel BBC4 is to make its first venture into costume drama with an adaptation of a trilogy of novels set in London in the 30s. By Chris Tryhorn.

Chris Tryhorn

19, Nov, 2004 @7:39 AM

Article image
Live Quatermass drama on BBC4

<b.12.45pm: The BBC is to show its first live television drama for more than two decades with a new version of sci-fi series The Quatermass Experiment next month. By Dominic Timms.

Dominic Timms

03, Mar, 2005 @3:46 PM

Article image
BBC4 buys in more foreign-language drama

8am: BBC4 has bought an Italian-language drama as well as the second run of French thriller Spiral. By Leigh Holmwood.

Leigh Holmwood

04, Apr, 2007 @3:13 PM

Article image
BBC pays out £75,000 damages over Harold Wilson drama

The BBC is to pay £75,000 in libel damages to Lady Falkender, Harold Wilson's former secretary. By Chris Tryhorn

Chris Tryhorn

04, Apr, 2007 @3:53 PM

Article image
BBC4 turns to Mrs Beeton for autumn drama

10.30am: BBC4 is continuing its single drama offerings this autumn, with a lineup that includes fictionalisations of the lives of Mrs Beeton and Fanny Cradock plus seasons devoted to science fiction and anthropology. By Jason Deans.

Jason Deans

12, Sep, 2006 @9:52 AM

Article image
Brydon to portray Tynan for BBC4 drama

8am: Comic actor Rob Brydon is to play the theatre critic Kenneth Tynan in a new drama for highbrow digital channel BBC4. By Chris Tryhorn.

Chris Tryhorn

29, Nov, 2004 @7:16 AM

Article image
Christopher Eccleston to play John Lennon in BBC4 drama
Lennon Naked, a 90-minute one-off film, looks at Beatle's life from 1967 to 1971. By Tara Conlan

Tara Conlan

27, Nov, 2009 @11:47 AM

Article image
TV ratings – 29 July: Penicillin drama draws more than 400,000
Breaking the Mould, starring The Wire's Dominic West, gives BBC4 second place in multichannel slot. By Leigh Holmwood

Leigh Holmwood

30, Jul, 2009 @10:44 AM

Article image
Stephen Mangan to star in BBC4 Douglas Adams drama

Green Wing and Free Agents star to join Cold Feet and Friends actor Helen Baxendale in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. By Tara Conlan

Tara Conlan

05, Oct, 2010 @11:42 AM