DEADLINE – EXCLUSIVE: Bohemian Rhapsody star Lucy Boynton is to headline an ITV series about the last woman to hang in the UK.
Boynton will play Ruth Ellis, a nightclub hostess who was hanged at the age of 28 after fatally shooting her abusive lover David Blakely. Famous hangman Albert Pierrepoint carried out the death sentence at Holloway Prison in 1955.
The four-part series is made by ITV Studios-backed Vera producer Silverprint Pictures. It is written by Kelly Jones (The Long Call, Des) and based on Carol Ann Lee’s biography A Fine Day for Hanging: The Real Ruth Ellis Story.
Ruth is told over two parallel timelines, with one half of the story following Ellis’ entry into a dizzying upper-class London and her ultimate downfall. The other follows John Bickford, Ellis’ lawyer, as he unravels secret truths about the case that remained hidden for decades.
Kate Bartlett and Antonia Gordon are the Executive Producers for Silverprint. Angie Daniell is the Producer and Lee Haven Jones (Passenger) directs. Ruth was commissioned for ITV by Polly Hill and Huw Kennair Jones. The series is produced in association with ITV Studios, which will handle global distribution.
Bartlett said Ellis’ story was “intoxicating, fascinating and resonant.” Kennair Jones added: “Kelly’s scripts brilliantly explore not only how the emotional and physical abuse she suffered drove her to commit a terrible crime but also the desperate last-minute attempt to save her as she and her supporters battled an unforgiving establishment.”
Boynton most recently appeared in ITV’s three-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?. Her other credits include The Ipcress File and Chevalier.