David Tennant's Litvinenko: First look images and release date confirmed

ITVX release first look pictures of David Tennant portraying Alexander Litvinenko, former Russian spy

David Tennant as Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko
(Image credit: ITV)

David Tennant is almost unrecognisable in the first look images of him playing Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in ITVX's new drama Litvinenko as they confirm its release date.

Fans of the former Dr. Who and Inside Man star, will be delighted to hear he is back on screens with a new gripping role portraying the victim in one of the most complex and dangerous investigations in the history of the Metropolitan Police.

ITVX revealed the first look pictures of the actor portraying Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian Federal Security Services and KGB officer, who died from Polonium-210 poisoning in November 2006.

As part of filming for the drama, David Tennant and the production team replicated the iconic photo taken of Alexander Litvinenko in his hospital bed which made international headlines before he died.

As we look at all you need to know about the upcoming show...

Where can I watch Litvinenko?

Fans can watch all four episodes of Litvinenko on new streaming platform ITVX from 15th December. Produced by ITV Studios, Tiger Aspect Productions and Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) in association with Livedrop Media, Litvinenko is the story of the determined New Scotland Yard officers who worked to prove who was responsible for the death of Alexander Litvinenko. 

Written by acclaimed screenwriter George Kay, the drama will relate how in November 2006 two police officers were called to University College Hospital in London to interview a patient in declining health. The patient was Alexander Litvinenko, a Russian dissident who claimed to have been poisoned on the direct orders of Vladimir Putin. 

How was Litvinenko poisoned?

Litvinenko was allegedly poisoned in London back in 2006 by two Russians - Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun, both former KBG officers - who are claimed to have poisoned Litvinenko with Polonium-210, a highly toxic radioactive substance by lacing his cup of green tea with the potent substance, according to the UK inquiry reported by the BBC. 

During the police interviews, Alexander, who fell ill shortly after the meeting, was admitted to hospital. He provided meticulous details from his hospital bedside about the events leading up to his illness, which he knew would prove fatal. His condition worsened and he died weeks later on 23rd November. But his information would ultimately help detectives track those responsible.

British investigators found traces of the substance at sites across London where the two men had been, including in offices and hotels.

A UK public inquiry conducted 10 years later concluded that the killing was "probably approved" by Russian President Vladimir Putin. From his deathbed, Mr Litvinenko accused President Putin of ordering his killing.

Russia has always denied any involvement in the murder.

Separately, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled last year that Russia was responsible for the killing.

Both men denied carrying out the murder and Russia refused to extradite them to face trial in the UK.

After the UK report was released, Mr Kovtun told the Interfax news agency: "I am not involved in Litvinenko's death. As for the outcome of the public inquiry that has been published in London, [it] could not have reached any other conclusions based on the falsified and fabricated evidence."

On 4th June the Tass state news agency reported Mr Kovtun died of Covid-19 at a hospital in the Russian capital Moscow.

Alexander Litvinenko

(Image credit: Getty)

Who is in the cast of Litvinenko?

The cast of Litvinenko includes, David Tennant, as the title lead, Mark Bonnar (Catastrophe, Quiz) portrays Clive Timmons, whilst Neil Maskell (Small Axe, Utopia) portrays Brent Hyatt.

The drama also focuses upon the story of Marina, portrayed by Margarita Levieva (The Deuce, The Blacklist), Alexander’s fearless, dignified widow who fought tirelessly to persuade the British Government to publicly name her husband’s killers and acknowledge the role of the Russian State in his murder.

Litvinenko has been produced with the support of many of the key individuals involved in the investigation and subsequent public inquiry including former New Scotland Yard officers, Clive Timmons and Brent Hyatt, along with Ben Emmerson QC and Alexander’s family. 

Alexander Litvinenko

(Image credit: Getty)

Litvinenko will stream exclusively on ITVX from 15th December.

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Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)