David Tennant says series on Litvinenko poisoning is timely

Dec 6, 2022, 10:43 AM | Updated: 11:16 am
This image released by ITVX/Sundance Now shows David Tennant as Alexander Litvinenko in a scene fro...

This image released by ITVX/Sundance Now shows David Tennant as Alexander Litvinenko in a scene from the series "Litvinenko." (ITVX/Sundance Now via AP)

(ITVX/Sundance Now via AP)

LONDON (AP) — David Tennant remembers seeing in the news the image of Alexander Litvinenko lying in a hospital bed.

It’s a photograph the actor has re-created — with support from makeup artists, prosthetic professionals and the art department– for his title role in “Litvinenko.”

The four-episode miniseries written by George Kay follows the investigation into what happened after Litvinenko — a former KGB agent who defected and became a critic of Russia — was killed by poisoning in 2006.

Tennant says they were motivated to get it right and felt the “weight of responsibility” of recent history.

“The ripples of this moment are still being felt in the pond we’re all still swimming in. Everyone wanted to approach this with a respect for the material, that perhaps goes above and beyond what one might more readily expect,” says the “Doctor Who” actor.

Litvinenko died in London after drinking tea laced with radioactive material in a hotel with two Russian men. He spent three weeks in the hospital but spoke to police from his bed, starting the investigation into what would be his killing.

Tennant marvels at “the very fact that Sasha (Litvinenko) had to survive against the odds, the overwhelming odds, for as long as he did … for them to be able to identify what his poison was, where it had come from, how this had happened …”

At the heart of the series is Marina Litvinenko, who is portrayed by Margarita Levieva. Marina Litvinenko’s fight to ensure her husband is not forgotten and her persistence in the investigation and court cases is central to the series.

In September 2021, the European Court of Human Rights backed the findings of a 2016 British inquiry that said two Russian agents were responsible for the killing of Litvinenko.

Marina Litvinenko also inspired the dedication of those working on the series.

“Suddenly it moves from a story that’s about politics and the dynamics of world diplomacy into a story that’s very raw and that’s very personal and that’s about family,” says Tennant.

“And if we can allow him (Litvinenko) some victory in death, then should be that.”

“Litvinenko” also stars Neil Maskell, Mark Bonnar and Stephen Campbell Moore. The series debuts on Sundance Now and AMC+ on Dec. 16.

Tennant practiced a Russian accent and phrases virtually with a dialect coach ahead of filming. He is proud of the production and interested in viewers’ response to its depiction of events 16 years ago.

“It feels more relevant,” he says, considering the current Russia-Ukraine war.

When it comes to choosing projects, Tennant opts for those that feel relevant, exciting and different, like “Litvinenko.” He has had leading roles in “Around the World in 80 Days” and “Good Omens,” which will launch its second season next year on Amazon Prime Video. He’s also returning to “Doctor Who.”

“There’s a slight precedent for that, old doctors showing up for five minutes here and there. But to get a proper old run around in the Converse again was more than I ever dared imagine. So, it was a treat from start to finish.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

              This image released by ITVX/Sundance Now shows David Tennant as Alexander Litvinenko in a scene from the series "Litvinenko." (ITVX/Sundance Now via AP)
              This image released by ITVX/Sundance Now shows David Tennant as Alexander Litvinenko in a scene from the series "Litvinenko." (ITVX/Sundance Now via AP)


A customer holds whale meat purchased from a vending machine at Kyodo Senpaku's unmanned store, Thu...
Associated Press

Japan launches whale meat vending machines to promote sales

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — A Japanese whaling operator, after struggling for years to promote its controversial products, has found a new way to cultivate clientele and bolster sales: whale meat vending machines. The Kujira (Whale) Store, an unmanned outlet that recently opened in the port town of Yokohama near Tokyo, houses three machines for whale […]
1 day ago
The Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 passes the High Class Racing ORECA LMP2 07 in a turn during a p...
Associated Press

IMSA takes North American sports cars into hybrid era

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Cadillac growls, while the Porsche and BMW scream. The Acura sounds like an Indy car, and for fun, turn your back to the track and listen carefully as the cars roar around Daytona International Speedway in a new era of IMSA sports car racing. The top prototype class has […]
1 day ago
A new Jeep is delivered to a dealership in Pittsburgh on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. On Friday, the Comm...
Associated Press

US inflation and consumer spending cooled in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge eased further in December, and consumer spending fell — the latest evidence that the Fed’s series of interest rate hikes are slowing the economy. Friday’s report from the Commerce Department showed that prices rose 5% last month from a year earlier, down from a 5.5% year-over-year […]
1 day ago
Mass timber affordable home prototypes are shown at the Port of Portland in Portland, Ore. Friday, ...
Associated Press

Oregon pins hopes on mass timber to boost housing, jobs

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Inside a warehouse at the industrial Port of Portland lies what some believe could be the answer to Oregon’s housing crisis — a prototype of an affordable housing unit made from mass timber. Once mass-produced at the factory being planned at the port, the units ranging from 426 square feet (40 […]
1 day ago
FILE - The seal of the Board of Governors of the United States Federal Reserve System is displayed ...
Associated Press

Wyoming crypto bank’s Federal Reserve application denied

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Federal Reserve Board has denied a Wyoming cryptocurrency bank’s application for Federal Reserve System membership, officials announced Friday, dealing a setback to the crypto industry’s attempts to build acceptance in mainstream U.S. banking. Many in crypto have been looking to Cheyenne-based Custodia Bank’s more than 2-year-old application as a bellwether […]
1 day ago
In this image provided by the U.S. Air Force, Senior Airmen Andrew Whitener and Tyler Glodgett 341s...
Associated Press

Nuclear strike chief seeks cancer review of launch officers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Air Force general in charge of the nation’s air- and ground-launched nuclear missiles has requested an official investigation into the number of officers who are reporting blood cancer diagnoses after serving at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The illnesses became publicly known this week after The Associated Press obtained […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
David Tennant says series on Litvinenko poisoning is timely