Hunt for Rupert Campbell-Black concludes! Cast confirmed for Jilly Cooper’s Rivals

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  • A star cast has been revealed today for the hotly anticipated Disney+ TV adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s Rivals with news that filming has started in the UK.

    Doctor Who’s David Tennant, Poldark actor Aidan Turner, Inbetweeners star Emily Atak and EastEnders icon Danny Dyer are among the top British talent confirmed for the eight-part series.

    The search for the “dangerously charismatic” Rupert Campbell-Black is complete, with Alex Hassell, whose credits include The Tragedy of Macbeth and The Boys, taking on the role of the “dashing ex-Olympian, Tory MP and incorrigible rake”. David Tennant will play Rupert’s “single-mindedly ambitious and egotistical Rutshire neighbour Lord Tony Baddingham, controller of Corinium Television”.

    Jilly, who is also an executive producer of the series, said she is “utterly enchanted” to announce the “all-star line-up” for Rivals.

    “Featuring some of the best acting talent that the British Isles has to offer, I couldn’t have dreamed of a better ensemble cast. I cannot wait to be on set and see them bring the characters I love so much to life,” said Jilly.

    “The minute we met with Alex we knew he’d perfectly embody my all-time hero, the iconic, racy, ruthless, and devastatingly handsome Rupert Campbell-Black. Viewers are in for a treat!”

    Members of the Rivals cast with Jilly Cooper

    Jilly Cooper (centre), pictured with Alex Hassell, Dany Dyer, David Tennant and Aidan Turner.

    Rivals is part of Jilly’s bestselling Rutshire Chronicles, and is set against the backdrop of the “drama, excess, and shocking antics of the power-grabbing social elite of 1980s England”. It is the second in the series and features many of the much loved, and affectionately loathed, characters that readers first met in Riders.

    Aidan Turner plays TV presenter Declan O’Hara, with Victoria Smurfit, of Bloodlands fame, playing his “bohemian, fickle” wife Maud O’Hara. Bella Maclean, who has had roles in Spring Awakening and Sex Education, plays their “tender-hearted yet strong-willed” elder daughter Taggie, with their younger daughter Caitlin portrayed by Catriona Chandler.

    Nafessa Williams, whose credits include Black Lighting and Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody, plays Cameron Cook, a ferociously talented American TV executive who is brought to Corinium by Tony to produce Declan’s new prime-time talk show. Katherine Parkinson (Humans) stars as Lizzie Vereker, a romantic novelist “consistently overlooked by her preening and self-centred TV presenter husband”, James Vereker, played by Oliver Chris (The Crown).

    Danny Dyer stars as the “honourable, loyal and lovable” self-made electronics millionaire Freddie Jones, whose wife Valerie is played by Lisa McGrillis (Maternal).

    Claire Rushbrook (Sherwood) plays Lady Monica Baddingham, Luke Pasqualino (Skins) the charming Basil “Bas” Baddingham, Tony’s younger brother and the owner of Cotchester’s Bar Sinister.

    Emily Atack takes the role of Sarah Stratton, the new wife to MP Paul Stratton, played by Rufus Jones (W1A).

    A release date has not yet been announced.

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