Sophie Cookson (Kingsman: The Secret Service) plays Keeler, the 19-year old woman who was involved in a relationship with John Profumo, while Norton stars as Stephen Ward, the society osteopath who drew her into the in-crowd.
Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals) plays Welsh model and Keeler friend Mandy Rice-Davies. Ben Miles (The Crown) plays Profumo and Emilia Fox (Silent Witness) stars as Valerie Profumo. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Angels in America) plays Johnny Edgecombe, a jazz promoter, whose involvement with Keeler inadvertently alerted authorities to the Profumo Affair, and Anthony Welsh (Black Mirror) plays jazz singer Aloysius “Lucky” Gordon.
It is produced by Fleming producer Ecosse Films and Kate Triggs’ Great Meadow Productions.
The six-part drama, which is set to air in 2019, takes a look at the infamous Profumo Affair, which involved 19-year-old Christine Keeler, who was involved in a relationship with John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan’s Conservative government. He initially lied to the House of Commons about the affair and the incident became a global scandal after it emerged that Keeler may have simultaneously been involved with a Soviet naval attaché.
The drama is written by Apple Tree Yard writer Amanda Coe and directed by Andrea Harkin, exec produced by Coe, Ecosse Films’ Douglas Rae and Kate Triggs and Lucy Richer for the BBC. Rebecca Ferguson will produce. It will be filmed on location in and around Bristol.
The series was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama. Keshet International will distribute internationally, while working alongside Endeavor Content to co-distribute the six-part series in the U.S.
Norton said, “I’m delighted to be working with the BBC on this fantastic drama. The opportunity to play Stephen Ward alongside this stellar cast and crew is something I’m really looking forward to.”
Triggs added, “I am thrilled that Amanda’s wonderful scripts have attracted such an exciting and stunning cast. They all bring something unique and fresh to the story and will be so compelling to watch. Sophie Cookson is the perfect Christine, embodying all her complexity and incredible spirit”.
Wenger said, “Casting actresses who could authentically convey the age and experience of the young women at the centre of this piece was key to achieving Amanda’s vision for this story. I’m delighted that we have two actresses of such calibre in the roles of Christine and Mandy, and actors of real skill and complexity in James and Ben, to play alongside them.”