ITV Commissions Ruth Ellis Drama


Lucy Boynton (Bohemian Rhapsody, The Ipcress File) is set to star in the new four-part drama Ruth, about the life of Ruth Ellis, commissioned by ITV.

Silverprint Pictures is producing, with Kelly Jones (The Long Call, Des, Baptiste) attached as writer. Boynton will star in the title role as the British nightclub hostess who was convicted of murder and became the last woman to be hanged in the U.K. following the fatal shooting of her lover David Blakely.

Set in 1955, the drama depicts Ellis’s entry into a dizzying upper-class London world that promises so much, but ultimately delivers treachery. It follows her glamorous lifestyle as a young nightclub manageress, her abusive relationship with the man she later gunned down in cold blood, her arrest, trial and the subsequent legal fight to reprieve her before she was hanged by infamous hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, in Holloway Prison, aged just 28.

Ruth will premiere on ITV1, and the series will be available for streaming on ITVX. It is based on Carol Ann Lee’s biography A Fine Day for Hanging: The Real Ruth Ellis Story. Jones will write all four scripts and Angie Daniell (Vigil, The Long Call, Alex Rider) will produce the series. Lee Haven Jones (Passenger, Feast, The Long Call) will direct all four episodes.

Huw Kennair Jones, ITV drama commissioner, said: “There is so much more to the Ruth Ellis story than we think we know. 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. We’re thrilled to be working with Lucy Boynton and Silverprint Pictures to bring this compelling story to the ITV and ITVX audience.”

Silverprint’s creative director, Kate Bartlett, added: “We are delighted that Lucy Boynton will be playing Ruth and know that she will bring all the subtlety, nuance and brilliance of Kelly’s beautiful scripts to life. Ruth Ellis’s story is such an intoxicating, fascinating and resonant one and it has been wonderful having Carol Ann Lee’s definitive book about Ruth to work with. We can’t wait to bring it to screen.”