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Steve Coogan, Harriet Walter to star in Channel 4 Thatcher drama from Baby Cow

Steve Coogan and Harriet Walter

UK commercially funded pubcaster Channel 4 has greenlit a drama from Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow Productions, to be directed by Bafta winner Stephen Frears and starring Coogan alongside Harriet Walter (Succession).

With a script by Brexit: The Uncivil War writer James Graham, Brian & Margaret (2×60′) is based on Rob Burley’s 2023 book Why is This Lying Bastard Lying to Me: Searching for the Truth on Political TV.

The two-parter delves into the final television interview between then UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher and journalist Brian Walden in 1989. The interview became a pivotal moment in British political history, ultimately contributing to Thatcher’s resignation. Coogan will play Walden, with Walter as Thatcher.

Commissioned for Channel 4 by Ollie Madden and Ben Wadey, the drama will be produced by Baby Cow (This Time With Alan Partridge, Chivalry), the prodco Coogan founded alongside Henry Normal in 1999. The exec producers are Sarah Monteith, Delyth Scudamore and Rupert Majendie, with Dan Winch as the producer.

BBC Studios will handle international distribution, while further casting and transmission details will be announced in due course, said C4.

“It’s great to be telling a story from the era of the sorely missed forensic interview,” said Coogan, the actor behind the Alan Partridge character.

Graham added: “As we enter another election, and wrestle with the importance of the ‘political interview,’ it’s a chance to bring to life the intimate and complicated relationship between Brian Walden and Margaret Thatcher – interrogator and prime minister. An epic one of love and betrayal.”

Ollie Madden, director of Film 4 and head of Channel 4 drama, said: “We were gripped by James Graham’s timely and hugely entertaining scripts, which offer a fascinating portrait of Brian Walden’s unusual but very close relationship with Margaret Thatcher.”

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