Liz Truss's 49 days in power to be subject of new drama series

Prime Minister Liz Truss at Downing Street
The drama series will provide an 'intimate account' of Truss's short time in office - JOHN SIBLEY/Reuters

Liz Truss’s short-lived premiership is to be turned into a television drama by the writer of A Very English Scandal.

The mini-series, titled 49 Days, will provide an “intimate account” of Truss’s time as Prime Minister.

It is being written by John Preston, who previously tackled the downfall of Jeremy Thorpe, the Liberal leader put on trial for conspiring to murder his lover, and John Stonehouse, the Labour MP who faked his own death.

Preston said: “The 49 days of the Liz Truss premiership has to be the most extraordinary story in recent British politics - and that’s really saying something.

“Never before has a government seen its aspirations, and support, dashed to nothing in so short a time. It’s a story that combines hubris and blind faith in an ideology, set against a backdrop of national tragedy.”

He added: “I hope the show will both illuminate what happened and shine as much light as possible on the character of Truss herself.

“I also hope it will take viewers inside Number 10 so that they too feel caught up in the drama and chaos and mounting sense of disaster.”

The drama will reveal Truss’s character “in a way not previously explored or understood”, as programme-makers will have “unprecedented access” to many of those involved.

Casting has not been announced but sources said that Truss was delighted by the project.

‘A story with international resonance’

There is currently no broadcaster attached but the drama is backed by Banijay UK, a production company run by Patrick Holland, former head of BBC Two.

While a British broadcaster would seem the obvious choice, Holland has suggested that 49 Days could go to a US streamer. He said: “The eyes of the world were on the UK as it self-combusted during those 49 days so it’s a story with international resonance.”

The screenplay will have “mischief, humanity and intelligence”, he added.

Ellie Wood, one of the project’s producers, said: “The story of Liz Truss’s brief and bizarre tenure is a perfect fit for John. Deploying his journalistic skills, his writing is always intelligent and revealing but also reveals character in a way that is never judgmental, often funny and at times deeply poignant.”

A Very English Scandal, starring Hugh Grant as Jeremy Thorpe and Ben Whishaw as Norman Scott, won an Emmy and two Baftas. Stonehouse, starring Matthew Macfadyen as John Stonehouse, was a critical and ratings hit for ITV.