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Charlotte Riley to play Kate in new BBC drama King Charles III

Published 09/11/2016

Charlotte Riley will play the Duchess of Cambridge
Charlotte Riley will play the Duchess of Cambridge

Peaky Blinders' star Charlotte Riley is to play the Duchess of Cambridge in a new BBC drama that envisions a constitutional crisis with the Prince of Wales as king.

Green Wing actor Oliver Chris will play the Duke of Cambridge opposite Riley, while Tim Pigott-Smith will star as King Charles III.

The inventive drama sees the new king refuse to sign a controversial bill causing political chaos, rioting on the streets and a tank in front of Buckingham Palace.

The 90-minute one-off programme is based on the Laurence Olivier award-winning 2014 play of the same name, which also stars Pigott-Smith and Chris, as well as Richard Goulding as Harry and Adam James as the prime minister.

Riley said she was "excited" to play Kate, adding: "It's such a unique project, to be both modern and rich in verse and to play someone who is real but yet totally re-imagined for this story.

"Kate Middleton is a really interesting woman, particularly within the context of this play, and it is a challenge I am really looking forward to."

Pigott-Smith said: "Performing King Charles in Mike Bartlett's astonishing play in London and New York has been one of the high points of my career.

"I am thrilled that we are to film it - it is a drama about us, now, who we are, and the relevance of our monarchy. Television gives it an important democratic voice."

Directed by Rupert Goold, King Charles won the Best New Play at the 2015 Laurence Olivier Awards.

Writer Mike Bartlett said: "I couldn't be more excited that King Charles III is now fully, brilliantly cast and about to begin shooting. We have an exceptional team, both in front of and behind the camera, and I'm looking forward to bringing this very contemporary royal tragedy to a national television audience."

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