ITV has today confirmed the commission of Torvill and Dean, a film narrating Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s early years and the creative impetus that finally drove them to become ice dancing royalty.
Written by leading film, television and theatre writer, William Ivory (Made in Dagenham, Burton and Taylor, Common as Muck), Torvill and Dean tells the story of Jayne and Chris’s iconic partnership from both a personal and artistic perspective.
The drama will receive funding support from Northern Ireland Screen and will be produced by leading television production company, Darlow Smithson. Darlow Smithson has achieved widespread recognition for producing other Northern Ireland Screen funded dramas such as Dave Allen at Peace and We’re Doomed! The Dad’s Army Story.
Game of Thrones actor, Will Tudor (Humans, Shadowhunters, Mr Selfridge) will take the role of Christopher Dean, and Poppy Lee Friar (Ackley Bridge, Eve, In the Club) will play Jayne Torvill. Acting royalty, Anita Dobson (The Rebel, Call the Midwife, EastEnders) will take the role of Miss Perry, Jayne’s first coach at the Nottingham Ice Stadium, with Stephen Tompkinson (The Split, Trollied, DCI Banks) as Jayne’s father, George, whilst Jo Hartley (Bliss, Access All Areas, This Is England ’90) plays her mum Betty.
Dean Andrews (The Moorside, Last Tango in Halifax, Silent Witness) and Christine Bottomley (Fearless, In the Club,Cucumber) will play Chris’s parents, Colin and Mavis, and Jaime Winstone (Babs, Ellen, After Hours) is Janet Sawbridge, the ice dancing instructor who pairs Chris and Jayne together for the first time. Susan Earl (So Awkward, I Want My Wife Back, Reggie Perrin) takes the role of Betty Dean. We’ll learn about their humble beginnings and family life in Nottingham; how Chris, following the breakup of his parents’ marriage, channelled his anger into skating and how Jayne, was outwardly reserved, and determined to explore her inwardly passionate nature. We explore how Chris and Jayne clashed as they tried to establish a new language for ice dance – one which won gold medals but also spoke to their private, intense relationship.
Both Jayne and Chris have spent many hours being interviewed by screenwriter, William Ivory, who was also born and bred in Nottingham and is a passionate advocate of the region. Commented Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean: “We feel very honoured that ITV have commissioned this film based on what was a very significant period in each of our lives. We have thoroughly enjoyed the time we have spent with William Ivory and the team at Darlow Smithson sharing experiences of our passion for skating, the lifelong friendship that came through our sport and everything that it took to achieve our eventual goal of becoming Olympic champions.”
Writer William Ivory said: “It’s been such a privilege to work on this piece. Chris and Jayne are such fascinating characters: sports people and athletes with all the grit and determination that entails, but real artists, too, engaging in deeply felt creative and emotional battles.”
Commented ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill: “Torvill and Dean captures the emotional intensity of Jayne and Chris’s relationship from those early years as they endeavoured to create a world renowned ice dancing partnership. Their story to success is inspirational and I’m delighted we’re telling it on ITV. It’s a joy to be working with William Ivory, who is bringing this wonderful story to screen.”
Torvill and Dean will be produced for ITV and Darlow Smithson by Emma Burge (Shameless, The Village, Coming Up) and executive produced by the company’s Joint Managing Director and Creative Director, Emily Dalton (Dave Allen at Peace, We’re Doomed! The Dad’s Army Story, The Mill) together with writer William Ivory. Commented Executive Producer, Emily Dalton: “24 million people in Britain watched Chris and Jayne win gold with Bolero in 1984. They are iconic but also enigmatic: we’ve all speculated about their relationship off the ice. I think viewers will be moved and surprised by the heart-breaking – and backbreaking- journey they’ve been on together. We’re really grateful to them for sharing it with us, and to William Ivory for capturing it and crafting it so beautifully.”
Torvill and Dean will be directed by Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky, Small Faces) and filming is due to commence later this month (July 2018). International distribution will be handled by Endemol Shine International.
Game of Thrones actor Will Tudor to star in ITV’s Torvill and Dean drama
Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s rise to Olympic figure skating glory is to be retold in a one-off ITV drama.
Will Tudor, from Game of Thrones and Humans, will play Dean, while Ackley Bridge’s Poppy Lee Friar plays Torvill.
The two-hour drama will show the duo’s early years leading up to their gold medal in the 1984 Winter Olympics.
“We feel very honoured that ITV have commissioned this film based on what was a very significant period in each of our lives,” Torvill and Dean said.
The pair, who are both from Nottingham, claimed Olympic glory in Sarajevo with their famous performance to Ravel’s Bolero.
According to ITV, the drama will tell of “the creative impetus that finally drove them to become ice dancing royalty”.
It will also tell of their “humble beginnings”, their clash of temperaments and how they “together tried to establish a new language for ice dance”.
Anita Dobson, Stephen Tompkinson and Jaime Winstone will also appear in the drama, to be written by William Ivory.
Ivory, whose credits include 2010 film Made in Dagenham, said Torvill and Dean were “real artists… engaging in deeply felt creative and emotional battles”.
The writer spent many hours talking to his subjects, who said they had “thoroughly enjoyed… sharing experiences of our passion for skating, the life-long friendship that came through our sport and everything that it took to achieve our eventual goal of becoming Olympic champions”.
Gillies MacKinnon, whose films include Hideous Kinky and last year’s Whisky Galore remake, will direct the drama, which will begin filming later this month.
Torvill and Dean officially retired in 1998 and now act as coaches on ITV’s Dancing On Ice.