Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

The 90-minute show will explore the 'emotionally wrought' negotiations that brought Clegg into Government in 2010

He’s a tragic character, a politician whose meteoric rise was swiftly eclipsed by plummeting poll ratings. So which actor will answer the call to portray the rise and fall of Nick Clegg on screen?

Casting is underway for Coalition, a feature-length Channel 4 drama portraying the “emotionally wrought” negotiations which brought the Liberal Democrats’ leader into Government.

James Graham, the acclaimed playwright behind the political dramas This House and Tory Boyz, has penned the screenplay for the 90-minute Channel 4 film.

“Clegg – the movie” will explore “the emotionally wrought, politically charged and often frenzied moments leading up to Nick Clegg’s astonishing rise from rank outsider to the man who would decide the fate of the country.”

Possisbles to play the deputy Prime Minister include Dan Stevens, formerly of Downton Abbey and Colin Firth, the Academy Award winner who endorsed the Lib Dems at the 2010 election.

With Benedict Cumberbatch an early favourite on social media for the role, the official Liberal Democrat Twitter feed entered the debate asking its 68,000 followers: “Nick Clegg The Movie. Who would you like to see play Nick?”

A source close to the deputy prime minister joked: “That would explain why Michael Fassbender keeps calling.”

But Channel 4, which said the drama will be based on “extensive research”, could choose a relative unknown to play the politician, who shot into the national consciousness with his performance at the first televised party leaders’ election debate.

A rival Coalition television drama, 5 Days In May, based on former Labour minister Andrew Adonis’ account of the 2010 negotiations, is also planned. The rights were snapped up by World Productions, the company behind the BBC police drama Line of Duty.

The Hollywood-style blurb for Coalition states: “In May 2010, after decades of single party rule and amidst growing disillusionment, all eyes turned to one man. A man who found himself with the power to change the landscape of British politics - and his career - forever. But at what cost?

“Would Clegg become the hero of a new politics – or the destroyer of his own party? Blue…or red? Left…or Right?”

James Graham said: “British politics was faced with a dilemma it hadn’t had to face in peacetime for over 75 years. The public were asked ‘who should govern’, and they came back with the answer – ‘we don't know’.

“Those historic, dramatic few days put personalities at the heart of politics – and the choices made, I believe, changed the face of British politics forever. What we try to capture in this drama is the tension, the high stakes, and the frequent farcical and absurd nature of what happens when a power is wrangled, negotiated and fought over like children trading cards in the playground.”

No sequel is planned for Coalition, which will “delve into the individual decisions, personal sacrifices and divisive compromises made in a pivotal few days” to expose “the game of building governments in backrooms.”

It follows previous Channel 4 political dramas - Miliband of Brothers, When Boris Met Dave, The Trial of Tony Blair – none of which have flattered their subjects.

Clegg idols: Who should play Nick?

Hugh Grant - Hesitant but well-mannered Lib Dem declares his true feelings for David Cameron in the Downing Street Rose Garden as fountains spurt into action and the nation’s press stand to applaud.

Hugh Bonneville – Brings upright Earl Grantham-style gravitas to deputy PM who can’t understand why the lower orders aren’t willing to pay for their university education.

Colin Firth – A flattering doppelganger, Firth is a sometime Lib Dem supporter who believes Clegg “did what he thought was the only choice at that time given the parliamentary situation”.

Nick Clegg - Strode the boards at Cambridge, where he once acted in a play under the direction of Sam Mendes, Clegg demands to play the role of his life but insists on rewriting the ending.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea