In a thrilling announcement, ITV has commissioned a captivating four-part drama series titled ‘Ruth,’ centred around the gripping story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be executed by hanging in Britain. The highly anticipated series will star Lucy Boynton in the titular role and will be written by Kelly Jones, with production led by Silverprint Pictures, a part of ITV Studios.
Set in the year 1955, ‘Ruth’ has been commissioned by ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, and Drama Commissioner, Huw Kennair Jones. Huw will oversee the production on behalf of ITV, ensuring that the series maintains the highest standards. ‘Ruth’ is set to premiere on ITV1, with streaming available on ITVX.
The narrative of ‘Ruth’ unfolds through two parallel timelines, unearthing long-held secrets about the case that have remained concealed for decades. The series poses tantalising questions about the events leading up to Ruth’s fatal act of shooting her lover, David Blakely, and sheds light on the life of one of Britain’s most notorious female murderers.
The drama delves into Ruth’s entry into the glamorous and treacherous world of upper-class London. Audiences will witness her life as a young nightclub manageress, her tumultuous and abusive relationship with the man she would later gun down, and the subsequent arrest, trial, and desperate legal battle to secure her reprieve. Ultimately, Ruth faced execution at the hands of the infamous hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, in Holloway Prison at the tender age of 28.
Commenting on the project, Lucy Boynton expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “Ruth Ellis’ story is a fascinating one. Both she and this complex case have always evoked a strong reaction, and with Kelly’s insightful scripts, I’m looking forward to bringing a new perspective to both familiar audiences as well as those who are unaware of her mark on British history.” Boynton’s recent work includes ITV’s three-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s ‘Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?’ directed by Hugh Laurie. She has also appeared in acclaimed productions such as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ ‘The Ipcress File,’ and the recently released biographical film ‘Chevalier.’
‘Ruth’ promises to be a compelling legal and emotional rollercoaster as it explores Ruth’s arrest, trial, and the race against time to save her life. Based on Carol Ann Lee’s renowned biography, ‘A Fine Day for Hanging: The Real Ruth Ellis Story,’ the series has been skillfully adapted by Kelly Jones, known for works such as ‘The Long Call,’ ‘Des,’ and ‘Baptiste.’ The production will be led by Silverprint Pictures, whose impressive portfolio includes popular shows like ‘Shetland,’ ‘Vera,’ and ‘Flesh and Blood.’
Kate Bartlett, the Creative Director at Silverprint Pictures, expressed delight at having Lucy Boynton onboard for the role of Ruth, confident that Boynton will bring the necessary subtlety, nuance, and brilliance to Kelly’s exceptional scripts. Bartlett added, “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.”
Silverprint Pictures, known for their commitment to producing vibrant and emotionally charged stories for UK and international audiences, will be executive producing the series. Kate Bartlett will oversee the executive production alongside Antonia Gordon, the Development Director for Silverprint Pictures. The talented Kelly Jones will pen all four scripts, with Angie Daniell producing the series. Lee Haven Jones will lend his directorial expertise to all four episodes.
Huw Kennair Jones, the Drama Commissioner, commented on the depth of Ruth Ellis’s story, stating, “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.”
The enthralling mystery behind Ruth Ellis’s decision to end the life of her passionate yet toxic and volatile lover will reveal that there is much more to this crime of passion than Ruth initially admitted. Her silence and reluctance to disclose the truth about her relationship with the charismatic racing driver, Blakely, is a complexity that lies beneath the surface.
Ruth’s solicitor, John Bickford, a low-status yet intelligent and sensitive character, begins to comprehend the extent of her suffering and believes that they must build a case based on provocation. With the highest stakes imaginable, where life or death hangs in the balance, Bickford embarks on his own investigation, unearthing details that could have saved Ruth’s life had they been presented during the trial.
Kate Bartlett concluded by highlighting the anticipation surrounding the project, stating, “We are delighted that Lucy Boynton will be playing Ruth, and we 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.”
Silverprint Pictures, known for its diverse and eclectic development slate, remain committed to collaborating with both emerging and established voices to deliver vibrant, distinctive, and emotionally resonant stories for audiences in the UK and around the world.
‘Ruth’ is produced in association with ITV Studios, which will handle the global distribution of the series, ensuring that this remarkable story reaches viewers far and wide.