Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent is being wooed to portray Winston Churchill in a West Wing-style television drama about how World War II began.
The eight-part series would focus, day-by-day, on the events leading up to the start of the war in 1939.
Screenwriter Shawn Slovo has written a pilot episode and mapped out seven other programmes for the as yet untitled show.
From 1929 to 1939, Churchill was in the political wilderness. His warnings about Hitler’s aggression in Europe were ignored, and the Government failed to listen to his urgings that Britain needed to re-arm.
The programmes, if they get the green light from the BBC and Working Title Television, will show how Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was forced to make Churchill First Lord of the Admiralty (the second time he held the post), and how he and Churchill (and other Ministers) clashed over war-time strategy.
While at the Admiralty, Churchill studied all aspects of naval training and maritime strategies, so he wouldn’t be blind-sided by the sea lords and admirals.
The behind-the-scenes deliberations between Churchill, top government officials, armed services departments and diplomats will be looked at. All the minutiae of taking Britain to war will be explored.
Though clearly different from The West Wing, it will have that same sense of how decisions were thrashed out behind the scenes, and eventually, made public.
It hasn’t been decided yet, but there’s talk of the series ending with Churchill becoming Prime Minister.
If the drama goes ahead, filming is expected to begin late summer or early autumn.
Broadbent has been shooting John Crowley’s adaptation of Colm Toibin’s novel Brooklyn, with Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson.
Spandau started with a knees-up
Martin Kemp can remember, from when he was a boy, the noise from the knees-ups at the pub next door.
He and brother Gary would hear some bloke on an upright piano, banging out Roll Out The Barrel or On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep.
‘You could hear the songs coming through the walls — if anything, that was our first musical experience,’ Kemp told me, as he talked about growing up in Islington, North London.
We were chatting in Cannes, where a documentary about Martin’s old group, Spandau Ballet — called Soul Boys Of The Western World — is premiered tonight.
Afterwards, he and bandmates Tony Hadley, John Keeble and Steve Norman will be giving an acoustic performance on La Plage Royal, just off the Croisette.
Brother Gary will be on stage elsewhere — starring in Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.
George Hencken’s movie isn’t a wallow down memory lane, but it does offer a great sense of time and place. It notes that the band members were mostly born in the Sixties, and their parents were full of post-war aspirations for their offspring.
The music they listened to on their parents’ radiograms ranged from Ella Fitzgerald to Frank Sinatra, and later David Bowie, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder.
As the film takes us through the era of the New Romantics and the Blitz club in Covent Garden, Hencken weaves together the fashion, culture and politics of the day. Mrs Thatcher’s time at No. 10 is touched on, as are the unrest and riots that rocked society.
Martin’s first pay packet from the group went on a Super 8 camera, and some of the footage in the documentary was shot by him. It seems appropriate, then, that a film he directed, Top Dog, is being shown in the Festival’s market.
Soul Boys Of The Western World has, meanwhile, been picked up for UK release in October by Metrodome.
The Spandau members have had their ups and downs, but reunited in 2009 for concerts. ‘It was like walking back into your mum and dad’s house,’ Martin mused.
Watching Soul Boys Of The Western World gave me that same emotional flashback.
WATCH OUT FOR
Guy Pearce, who will be getting in shape to play a personal trainer in Results, which director Andre Bujalski will film in the States in July.
The movie’s about a fitness instructor who trains clients to be the best but is slow to recognise his own faults.
I’m looking forward to seeing Pearce — so good in a long list of movies that include Memento, LA Confidential and the King’s Speech — in David Michod’s contemporary Australian western The Rover, which is being shown here in Cannes on Sunday night.
Twiggy Lawson, who is in early discussions to star in a film of Paul Gallico’s classic novel Mrs Harris Goes To Paris. If all goes according to negotiations, various plans, and talks, then Emma Freud will write the screenplay, working from the novel and an early draft by director Anthony Fabian.
Gallico’s tale is about a Cockney charlady who ‘does’ for wealthy households in Belgravia. She admires a Dior couture dress at one of the homes she cleans and determines to scrimp and save so she can have a Dior of her own.
It seems a perfect fit for Twiggy, who has modelled all her life, and it would be fun to see her in high class Paris fashion again.
Gracie Fields and Angela Lansbury have played Ada Harris on screen before now. Twiggy calls the project a ‘work in progress’ that she’s attached to.Tags: actor, concert, director, film, movie, music, release, television, tv