Dame Harriet Walter to play Margaret Thatcher in Channel 4 drama

Dame Harriet Walter will play Margaret Thatcher in a new television drama commissioned by Channel 4.

Brian And Margaret will tell the story of the 1989 TV interview between the former prime minister and journalist Brian Walden, played by Steve Coogan, which helped to precipitate the downfall of the “Iron Lady”.

The two episodes, each an hour long, will be directed by Bafta-winning filmmaker Stephen Frears and written by Dear England playwright James Graham, based on political editor and TV producer, Rob Burley’s book Why is This Lying Bastard Lying to Me: Searching For The Truth On Political TV.

Steve Coogan, who will play Brian Walden
Steve Coogan will play Brian Walden (Ian West/PA)

Succession actress Dame Harriet, 73, said: “I have to travel a great distance to reach Maggie Thatcher but with James’s brilliant script, Stephen Frears to guide me, and Steve Coogan to accompany me I have the dream team to help me achieve it.”

Alan Partridge star Coogan, 58, added: “It’s great to be telling a story from the era of the sorely missed forensic interview – two giants of their time locking horns to determine the future of Britain.

“To act opposite Harriet Walter with a script by James Graham directed by Stephen Frears is a challenge of the very best kind.”

Graham, 41, said he was “beyond excited” to be working with a team he described as “world-class”.

“As we enter another election, and wrestle with the importance and effectiveness 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,” he added.

Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher
Former prime minister Margaret Thatcher (John Stillwell/PA)

“An epic one of love and betrayal, and I think an audience will be surprised by a lot of it. I know I was.”

Ollie Madden, director of Film 4 and head of Channel 4 Drama, said the broadcaster was “delighted to have this unique drama on Channel 4”.

Sarah Monteith, chief executive of production company Baby Cow Productions, said: “Baby Cow are proud to be making this important drama with the very best of British talent, bringing this extraordinary relationship in British politics to a new generation.”

Further casting and transmission details will be announced in due course.

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