Julie Walters, Sue Johnston and Clarke Peters to star in Channel 4 death pact drama

Julie Walters, Sue Johnston and Clarke Peters will star in Truelove. (PA/Getty)
Julie Walters, Sue Johnston and Clarke Peters will star in Truelove. (PA/Getty)

An all-star veteran cast is set to launch a death pact drama at Channel 4 about an ageing group of friends determined to bow out of life on their own terms.

Truelove will feature Julie Walters and Clarke Peters as former teenage sweethearts whose romance is rekindled in the unlikeliest of circumstances - a story that Walters has said tempted her out of retirement.

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Educating Rita, Billy Elliot and Mamma Mia! star Walters plays ex-senior police chief Phil, who's enjoying a peaceful and boring retirement, while The Wire's Peters is her long-time ex Ken, a former special forces officer who is equally uninspired by old age.

The pair have never quite forgotten their feelings for each other in their younger years, so when they meet again at a friend's funeral, sparks fly.

Julie Walters attending the EE British Academy Film Awards held at the Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, Kensington, London.
Julie Walters stars as a former senior police chief. (PA) (PA)

But while their old group catches up at the funeral, they get to discussing what the ideal death would be and make a pact not to let each other suffer a slow decline by helping each other engineer a dignified death when the time comes.

What starts as a hypothetical conversation soon presents a grim reality as the series wrestles with the ethical questions of whether it's ever alright to help someone else die.

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Death isn't the only theme on the agenda, though - with most of the cast in their 60s and 70s, Truelove aims to flip ageist tropes on their head with passionate romance, thrilling twists and turns, and a darkly comic undercurrent.

The cast also includes The Royle Family's Sue Johnston, Phil Davis (Trying, Silent Witness), Peter Egan (After Life, Unforgotten), Karl Johnson (Too Close, Mum), Fiona Button (The Split) and Kiran Sonia Sawar (Black Mirror).

Clarke Peters
Clarke Peters plays special forces vet Ken. (PA) (PA)

Walters said: “I had basically withdrawn from acting and wasn’t sure that anything could tempt me back but then I read Truelove. I was completely bowled over by the writing - the dark humour, the love story and thriller element set against a backdrop of what happens to us all as we approach our later years.

"I adore the character of Phil - smart, funny and hard edged. How often does one have the chance at my tender age to play a leading lady in a TV drama?

"I can’t wait to start and to work with Channel 4 again, a broadcaster with a remit that is so vital to the industry and viewers.”

Sue Johnston
Sue Johnston has also been announced for the cast. (Getty Images) (Max Mumby/Indigo via Getty Images)

Peters added: “If your friend reached a soul-destroying level of decrepitude, could you help them transition, if asked? Would it be right, would it be noble, could you do it? Which of that internal triumvirate do you listen to: your head, heart or soul? You know it is illegal in law and scripture to take a life, but could you do it?

"It’s funny, it’s dark and it’s full of twists and turns. And DAMN! To tell this story, with this cast, was something I would have dreaded missing out on…Roll on 'action'!”