Compelling new drama ‘National Treasure’ debuts on Channel 4 to universal acclaim from audiences and critics
Robbie Coltrane’s return to the small screen draws 3m viewers, making it Channel 4’s third most watched programme of the year
Made with Investment from Screen Yorkshire’s Yorkshire Content Fund
BAFTA-winning writer Jack Thorne’s new drama National Treasure premiered on Channel 4 on Tuesday 20th September to unanimous acclaim from audiences and critics alike. The four part series starring the BAFTA winning actors Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters and Andrea Riseborough, filmed extensively across the region as a result of investment from Screen Yorkshire at locations including Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Harrogate, Scarborough and Hull.
Just over 3m viewers tuned in to watch Robbie Coltrane’s much anticipated return to the small screen, making it Channel 4’s third most watched programme of the year, after The Grand National and Googlebox.
”Robbie Coltrane is superb in this landmark drama” The Telegraph
”Sublime acting and a gripping plot – National Treasure was telly perfection” Daily Mail
”Thoughtful, bold and accomplished, a powerful example of how the issues of a news story can be explored through television drama” The Guardian
BAFTA-winner Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter, Cracker, Tutti Frutti) plays Paul Finchley, one half of a much-loved comedy double act – a cherished household name with a career that spans several decades. He’s not quite as successful as he once was, but nevertheless he’s frequently recognised on the street, affectionately called upon by taxi drivers to repeat his famous catchphrase and is a familiar face in the TV schedules. He’s a bona fide national treasure. But, in the face of accusations of historic sexual offences from the 1990s, the life of this adored comedian begins to unravel.
Robbie Coltrane, who stars in National Treasure, says: ‘’I think it’s a great showcase for the talents, both of the actors and the writer, director, DoP. All of us involved in it are really proud of it. And I think it’s important to deal with these issues in some way and help people understand them. And hopefully to prevent it from happening again. Because you’re really doing it for the victims. A lot of people’s lives have been ruined by this kind of stuff. You have to do it right out of respect for them.’’
Hugo Heppell, Head of Investments at Screen Yorkshire says: ‘’’National Treasure’ tackles an issue that is still painfully current to many people across the country. That it dramatises and humanises Operation Yewtree with such sensitivity is testimony to the exceptional creative talent that has come together to make this show, and we at Screen Yorkshire feel privileged to be involved in bringing it to the screen.’’
Directed by BAFTA-winning director Marc Munden, National Treasure is a timely exploration of truth, memory, trust and family. As the investigation and criminal trial work their way towards a verdict, those closest to Paul must deal with the effects of the investigation. Memories that have become muddied in the intervening four decades are dredged, doubts flourish, loyalties are tested, and truths, half-truths and lies are all exposed.
National Treasure filmed on location at a range of Yorkshire locations, including Leeds (Town Hall, Headlingley and Colton) Harrogate (Fulwith Mill Lane and Stone Rings Lane), Scarborough (South Bay Beach), Bradford (City Hall, Magistrates Court and City Park), Hull Old Town (Lowgate) and Wakefield (County Hall, Normanton and Pontefract).
BAFTA- and Golden Globe-winner Julie Walters (Harry Potter, Mo, Indian Summers, Brooklyn) plays Marie. Married to Paul for over 40 years, Marie is a strong woman who’s supported her husband throughout his career, despite some tough times. As the investigation unfolds, Marie is forced to ask herself – is the man she’s spent her life with different to the man she thought she married?
BAFTA-nominated Andrea Riseborough (The Devil’s Whore, Birdman, Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk to Finchley) plays Dee, Paul’s daughter. Deeply troubled and a recovering addict, the accusations levelled against her father threatens her recovery, and the public and private fallout from the case compounds the difficulties she her already faces from fragile state of mind.
George Faber, co-executive producer, says: “It’s the quality of Jack Thorne’s script that’s attracted such a stellar cast (Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Andrea Riseborough). Our drama tackles the complex relationship between celebrity, sex and power and it needed Britain’s finest acting talent to do it justice.”
National Treasure was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Channel 4 Head of Drama, with Beth Willis and Roberto Troni. It is written by Jack Thorne, whose previous credits include Glue (E4), The Fades (BBC3), This is England ‘86, ’88, ’90 (Channel 4) and The Last Panthers (Sky). He has also written Hope and Let the Right One In for The Royal Court Theatre as well as the forthcoming Harry Potter play for London’s West End. Produced by new production company The Forge, National Treasure is executive produced by George Ormond (Great Expectations, Emma) and George Faber (Shameless, The Devil’s Whore, Skins, The Village) and produced by John Chapman (The Street, Cracker).
The series is directed by Marc Munden (Utopia, The Devil’s Whore, The Crimson Petal and the White)
This four-part serial is the second Channel 4 commission for production company The Forge Entertainment. National Treasure is being produced in association with Screen Yorkshire, Lip Sync Productions and the support of the Yorkshire Content Fund and will film in the Yorkshire region. Hugo Heppell will executive produce on behalf of Screen Yorkshire and Norman Merry on behalf of Lip Sync.
Creative England worked alongside Screen Yorkshire to provide crew and locations support for National Treasure, helping to source regional crew, advise on local trainees and facilities companies and a range of key locations including a double for London’s Old Bailey which was secured in Hull.