The tale behind a well-known political scandal from the early 1970s will be revealed in Stonehouse, a new drama premiering on ITV1 and ITVX in early 2023. British politician and one-time Labour minister MP John Stonehouse faked his death in 1974 by claiming he had drowned off the coast of Miami. He was later discovered alive and well in Australia.
Acclaimed author John Preston’s three-part drama features real-life pair Matthew Macfadyen (Succession, Quiz) and Keeley Hawes (Bodyguard, The Durrells) in the lead roles of John Stonehouse and his wife, Barbara. Below is an exclusive first-look photo produced by ITV, showing Matthew in character as MP John Stonehouse being questioned during a Labour Party meeting.
Stonehouse Release Date
Stonehouse will be the first show of its kind when it premieres on ITV1 on Monday, January 2, 2023, at 9 pm. There will be new episodes of the drama on January 2, 3, and 4 at 9 pm each night. Stonehouse will be available on ITV’s free new service ITVX in the future, and it will most likely make its way to BritBox in the United States.
John Stonehouse had a remarkable life and career in politics, and Stonehouse tells the story. He was the Labour MP for Walsall North. The media and public were outraged to learn that he had abandoned his wife Barbara and three young children and gone missing off the coast of Miami, with many speculating that he had drowned or been eaten by sharks.
John Stonehouse, a man of the working class who attended the London School of Economics and served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, appeared like the perfect person to tell a political lie. John Stonehouse, who secured a seat in parliament in the 1960s and was known for his charisma, charm, and self-assurance, immediately won over the hearts of then-Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson and other prominent members of the Labour Party. John Stonehouse, a rising star in the Labour ranks, was promoted to Cabinet minister under Harold Wilson (played by Kevin McNally) and was widely expected to rise to the highest levels of government.
His private life, however, began to unravel in the 1960s when he became entangled with the Czech secret service, began an affair with his assistant Sheila Buckley (Showtrial actress Emer Heatley), and was suspected of fraud after several investments went bust. Stonehouse’s financial and personal complexities led him to take the identity of a constituent who had recently passed away. After that, he tried to get a passport in the deceased man’s name and started a complex plot to start again in Australia.
In November 1974, he swam out from the beach of a major luxury hotel in Florida and disappeared, leaving behind a neat pile of garments. After Stonehouse pulled a Reggie Perrin–style act to evade the looming controversy, his story took a surreal turn when he was mistaken for the missing nobleman Lord Lucan, whose nanny had been murdered the same month that Stonehouse disappeared. John Stonehouse, returned to the UK by Scotland Yard officers, was instrumental in keeping the Labour administration in power despite its small majority.
However, he was also being investigated for criminal offenses. He was a member of parliament until he went bankrupt, was convicted of fraud, and was sent to prison, where he had three heart attacks.
Keeley Hawes (The Bodyguard, It’s a Sin), who is also Macfadyen’s real-life wife, co-stars with him. In the upcoming drama, she’ll play Barbara Stonehouse, Stonehouse’s wife. Emer Heatley (Showtrial) will play Stonehouse’s mistress Sheila Buckley. At the same time, Kevin McNally (The Crown, Unforgotten), Dorothy Atkinson (All Creatures Great and Small), and Igor Grabuzov will round out the main cast (Voskresenskiy, No Looking Back).
Where To Watch Stonehouse?
Beginning Monday, January 2, 2023, Stonehouse will air on ITV and ITVX. After the premiere airs on ITV, the entire series will be available on ITVX.