Steve Coogan and Harriet Walter to star in major new Channel 4 drama, ‘Brian and Margaret’

Steve Coogan and Harriet Walter to star in major new Channel 4 drama, 'Brian and Margaret'

Channel 4 commissions ‘Brian and Margaret’, a major new drama from James Graham starring Steve Coogan and Harriet Walter

June 14, 2024 – Channel 4 has commissioned a major new drama, Brian and Margaret, from Baby Cow Productions (This Time With Alan Partridge, Chivalry, The Witchfinder). Directed by Academy Award nominee and BAFTA-winning Stephen Frears (A Very English Scandal, Florence Foster Jenkins, Philomena) and written by RTS award-winner James Graham (Sherwood, Quiz, Brexit: The Uncivil War), 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.

Starring two-time Academy Award nominee Steve Coogan (The Reckoning, Philomena) and Harriet Walter (Succession, Ted Lasso, Silo), Brian and Margaret looks at the final ever television interview of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and journalist Brian Walden, and asks whether the slow death of full-length political TV interviews puts modern democracy at risk.

  1. When two old friends, the ‘much feared inquisitor’, Brian Walden (Steve Coogan), and ‘Iron Lady’ Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher (Harriet Walter), come together for their last ever TV interview, little do they realise they’re about to embark on one of the most infamous political exchanges of all time. The 45-minute showdown became a national talking point and set in train a series of events that ended with Margaret’s resignation.

Afterwards, they never spoke again…

Steve Coogan says: “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!”

Harriet Walter says: “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.”

James Graham says: “I’m beyond excited to be working with this incredible world-class team on a story brought to us by Rob Burley from his book ‘Why Is This Lying B*stard Lying To Me’. 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. An epic one of love and betrayal, and I think an audience will be surprised by a lot of it. I know I was.”

Sarah Monteith, CEO Baby Cow Productions, says: “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. This story may leave many wishing for a return to the TV interviewing rigour that once underpinned our democracy.”

Ollie Madden, Director of Film 4 and Head of Channel 4 Drama says: “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, and the interview which came to be seen as a major turning point in the way politicians interact with the media. Who better to direct than Stephen Frears, with his amazing cast in Harriet Walter and Steve Coogan, and supported by the expert team at Baby Cow. We are delighted to have this unique drama on Channel 4”.

Brian and Margaret is an 2×60” drama from Baby Cow Productions, one of BBC Studios’ owned production labels, and has been commissioned for Channel 4 by Ollie Madden, Director of Film 4 and Head of Channel 4 Drama alongside Ben Wadey, Drama Commissioning Executive. Executive producers are Sarah Monteith (The Ballad of Wallis Island, Changing Ends, Chivalry), Delyth Scudamore (Toxic Town, A Very British Scandal), Rupert Majendie (The Ballad of Wallis Island, Brian and Charles). Dan Winch (Black Mirror, Quiz, A Very English Scandal) is the producer. BBC Studios are the international distributors of the series.

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


Headshot Credits:
Steve Coogan – courtesy of Thomas Laisne
Harriet Walter – courtesy of Georgia Oetker

Cast Reps:
Steve Coogan is repped by Independent Talent and CAA
Harriet Walter is repped by Elizabeth Fieldhouse and Christian Hodell at Hamilton Hodell

Channel 4

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