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
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer is to leave The Apprentice after 10 years

TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice

Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
    Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

    Marian Keyes

    The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

    Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

    Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
    Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

    Rodgers fights for his reputation

    Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick