Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes to star in ITV’s Stonehouse
James R | On 24, Feb 2022
Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes will reunite to star in ITV’s Stonehouse.
The real-life drama, written by John Preston, will chronicle the life and times of disgraced Labour minister John Stonehouse. Macfadyen, fresh from his Emmy-nominated turn in Succession, will play Stonehouse, with Hawes (Honour, It’s a Sin) to play Stonehouse’s wife Barbara.
Hawes and Macfadyen starred in BBC’s Spooks together in the early 2000s, before going on to marry. Now, they’re back on screen together again for the three-part drama. Directed by Jon S Baird (Stan & Ollie, Vinyl, Filth), it retells how Stonehouse, a high-flying member of Harold Wilson’s Government, vanished from the beach of a large luxury hotel in Florida in November 1974, leaving a neatly folded pile of clothes as he swam into the sea, intent on faking his own death.
The MP for Walsall North left behind his loving wife Barbara and three young children as a shocked public and media presumed he had drowned or been eaten by sharks. Charismatic, oozing with charm and brimming with confidence, Stonehouse had impressed Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Labour stalwarts from an early stage in his parliamentary career. From a working-class background, he’d graduated from the London School of Economics, was in the RAF during the War and seemed the ideal candidate for a life in politics. As the drama unfolds, it becomes apparent his reputation as a devoted family man masked the truth, as he’d embarked on an extra marital affair with his secretary, Sheila Buckley, and acted as a spy for the Czech Secret Service in the 1960s.
The drama will also star Emer Heatley (Showtrial) as Sheila, Kevin R McNally (The Crown, Unforgotten) as Harold Wilson, Dorothy Atkinson (All Creatures Great and Small, Mum) as Betty Boothroyd and Igor Grabuzov (Voskresenskiy, No Looking Back).
Preston said: “I’ve always been fascinated by John Stonehouse. The story of how he faked his own death and tried to start a new life in Australia under an assumed name is one of the most bizarre true-life tales I’ve ever come across. I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s being brought to the screen with such an outstanding cast.”