Lucy Boynton (c) Sasha Marro

Ruth – Lucy Boynton to play Ruth Ellis for new itv drama

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The broadcaster has commissioned a series about the last British woman to be hanged. 

ITV have given the green light to a four-part drama based on the story of Ruth Ellis, who was the last woman to be hanged in Britain, in 1955.

Screenwriter Kelly Jones (Des) has adapted Ruth’s story from Carol Ann Lee’s 2012 biography A Fine Day for Hanging: The Real Ruth Ellis Story.

Here’s the synopsis for Ruth:

Told over two parallel timelines, Ruth reveals secret truths about the case which have remained hidden for decades, poses tantalising questions about what really happened in the months before Ruth killed her lover David Blakely, and sheds light on the life of one of Britain’s most infamous murderesses.

The drama depicts Ruth’s entry into a dizzying upper class London world that promises so much, but ultimately delivers treachery. We follow her glamorous lifestyle as a young nightclub manageress, her abusive relationship with the man she later gunned down in cold blood, her arrest, trial and the subsequent legal fight to reprieve her before she was hanged by infamous hangman, Albert Pierrepoint, in Holloway Prison, aged just 28.

Book cover of A Fine Dat for a Hanging - The story of the real Ruth Ellis by Carol Ann Lee

The powerful mystery of what compelled Ruth Ellis to take the life of the man she was in a passionate but toxic and volatile relationship with will reveal that there was more to this crime of passion than Ruth was prepared to say. Her silence, and resistance to speak of what happened between her and dashing racing driver, Blakely, is far more complex than she admitted.

Ruth’s solicitor, the low-status but intelligent and sensitive John Bickford, starts to realise some of what she has suffered and believes they must make a case for provocation.

With stakes that could not be higher, literally life or death, Bickford begins his own investigation and uncovers details that could have saved her life had those facts been aired in court.

Actress Lucy Boynton, who will play Ruth Ellis, said:

“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.”

Ruth comes from Silverprint Pictures (Shetland, Vera) part of itv studios. Lee Haven Jones directs and Angie Daniell produces.

Lucy Boynton

Boynton most recently starred in the Agatha Christie adaptation Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?. However, she might be best known for her role as Mary Austin in Bohemian Rhapsody. She’s also in The Ipcress File and the newly released film Chevalier.

We’ll keep you posted on Ruth.