David Tennant, Danny Dyer and Aiden Turner have joined the casting line-up for the eight-part series, ‘Rivals’, based on the celebrated novel by Jilly Cooper.

Completing the ensemble cast are Alex Hassell, Nafessa Williams, Bella Maclean, Katherine Parkinson, Victoria Smurfit, Claire Rushbrook, Oliver Chris,  Lisa McGrillis, Emily Atack, Rufus Jones, Luke Pasqualino and Catriona Chandler.

The original eight-episode series is part of Cooper’s bestselling Rutshire Chronicles, the iconic literary series packed full of wit, romantic entanglements, sex and unforgettable characters. The story is set against the backdrop of the drama, excess, and shocking antics of the power-grabbing social elite of 1980s England. 

Diving headfirst into the ruthless world of independent television in 1986. In the fictional county of Rutshire, a long-standing rivalry between two powerful men is about to boil over. Alex Hassell (‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’, ‘The Boys’) plays dashing ex-Olympian, Tory Member of Parliament and incorrigible rake, the dangerously charismatic Rupert Campbell-Black. David Tennant (‘Doctor Who’, ‘Good Omens’) plays Rupert’s single-mindedly ambitious and egotistical Rutshire neighbour Lord Tony Baddingham, controller of Corinium Television. A long-simmering power struggle between them threatens to boil over when the two men lock horns over the future of Corinium.

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TV presenter Declan O’Hara, played by Aidan Turner (‘Poldark’, ‘The Suspect’) is caught in the crossfire. Fiercely intellectual, with an even fiercer temper, he is wooed to Corinium TV from the BBC by Baddingham himself but feels he’s been swindled when Tony refuses to deliver on his promises. Furious with Tony, Declan vows to get his revenge. 

The series is executive produced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins (‘A Very English Scandal’, ‘Holding’, ‘EastEnders’) and Alexander Lamb (‘The Bay’, ‘We Hunt Together’, ‘Ackley Bridge’), Felicity Blunt, Laura Wade, “Rivals” author Jilly Cooper and Director of Scripted Content for Disney+ EMEA Lee Mason.  “Rivals” is produced by Happy Prince, which is part of ITV Studios and the series is written by Treadwell-Collins with Olivier Award-winner Laura Wade (‘The Riot Club’). 

The lead director is BAFTA-nominated Elliot Hegarty (‘Ted Lasso, Cheaters’, ‘Trying’), who also serves as executive producer on episodes 1-3. Eliza Mellor (‘The Midwich Cuckoos’, ‘Behind Her Eyes’, ‘Poldark’) serves as Series Producer. The UK original series will premiere on Disney+ in EMEA.

Production has commenced with filming taking place in the UK.