Rivals David Tennant as Lord Tony Baddingham

Rivals – first look at David Tennant in the Jilly Cooper adaptation

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Expect sex, lies and videotape in the world of 1980s independent television. 

Disney+ have revealed a crop of first-look images for Rivals.

The forthcoming six-part drama, based on the novel by Jilly Cooper, explores the shocking antics of the power-grabbing social elite of 1980s England as it delves headfirst into the ruthless world of independent television in 1986.

Here are the first images of the runners and riders in Rivals:

Rivals - Alex Hasell as Rupert Campbell-Black
Alex Hasell as Rupert Campbell-Black (c) Happy Prince/Disney+

Alex Hassell (The Boys) stars as the dashing ex-Olympian, Member of Parliament, incorrigible rake, and dangerously charismatic Rupert Campbell-Black.

Rivals David Tennant as Lord Tony Baddingham
David Tennant as Lord Tony Baddingham (c) Happy Prince/Disney+

David Tennant (Doctor Who) plays Lord Tony Baddingham, controller of Corinium Television and Rupert’s single-mindedly ambitious and egotistical adversary.

Rivals - Aidan Turner as Declan O'Hara
Aidan Turner as Declan O’Hara (c) Happy Prince/Disney+

Aidan Turner (Poldark) is journalist and TV presenter Declan O’Hara, who becomes caught in the crossfire of the long-simmering feud between Rupert and Tony.

Rivals - Nafessa Williams as Cameron Cook
Nafessa Williams as Cameron Cook (c) Happy Prince/Disney+

Nafessa Williams (Black Lightning) is Cameron Cook. A ferociously talented American TV executive, she is brought to England by Tony to produce Declan’s new prime-time talk show.

Rivals - Katherine Parkinson as Lizzie Vereker
Katherine Parkinson as Lizzie Vereker (c) Happy Prince / Disney+

Katherine Parkinson (Here We Go) plays Lizzie Vereker, a romantic novelist suffering from a distinct lack of romance in her life.

Rivals - Bella Maclean as Taggie O’Hara
Bella Maclean as Taggie O’Hara (c) Happy Prince / Disney+

Bella Maclean (Sex Education) is Taggie O’Hara. Declan’s tender-hearted yet strong-willed eldest daughter becomes an unexpected temptation for Rupert.

The wider cast of Rivals

The drama also features Emily Atack, Catriona Chandler, Oliver Chris, Danny Dyer, Rufus Jones, Lisa McGrillis, Luke Pasqualino, Claire Rushbrook and Victoria Smurfit.

Rivals emerges from a writers room led by Dominic Treadwell-Collins (A Very English Scandal) and Laura Wade (The Riot Club). The team includes Sophie Goodhart, Marek Horn, Mimi Hare & Clare Naylor, Dare Aiyegbayo, Kefi Chadwick, Tray Agyeman and Sorcha Kurien.

The lead director is Elliot Hegarty (Ted Lasso), alongside Dee Koppang O’Leary (The Crown) and Alexandra Brodski (Somewhere Boy). Eliza Mellor (The Midwich Cuckoos) serves as Series Producer.

Rivals comes from Happy Prince, part of ITV Studios. The show will land on Hulu in the US, and Disney+ elsewhere, later in 2024.