Masterpiece/PBS and Maven Screen Media are developing a five-part series based on the public and private life of Clementine Churchill, the wife of the late prime minister Winston Churchill, alongside David Thomspon and Sayoko Teitelbaum’s Origin Pictures.
Emmy-nominated “Boardwalk Empire” writer Margaret Nagle will pen the script for the series (working title: “Mrs. Churchill”) and executive produce along with Thompson, Teitelbaum and Maven co-founders Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler, as well as Susanne Simpson for Masterpiece.
The show centers on the “untold story of a fiercely Independent and very modern heroine who risked everything to save her country and the world from fascism—and her husband from himself.” While several dramatized narratives have focused on Winston’s story, the series aims to highlight Clementine’s achievements.
“Winston has said that the Second World War would have been impossible without Clementine, and yet she has not been given the credit she deserves. We are thrilled to be working with MASTERPIECE and developing a series about this complicated, extraordinary woman,” Nagle and Rattray said in a statement.
Each episode of the miniseries will follow Clementine through pivotal moments of her life, tracing her childhood in poverty with an unstable mother to her origins as a suffragette working two jobs. She was known as the “Broke Beauty,” as she refused to marry for money and wouldn’t settle for anything less than love.
“Mrs. Churchill” will also follow her courtship with Winston and struggle with motherhood, fractured relations with her young niece, Diana Mitford (who was brainwashed by fascism), a climactic trip to Stalin-era Russia and influential partnership with American Harry Hopkins (FDR’s conscience), who held the purse strings to what would eventually be the Lend-Lease Act that would ensure England could withstand Nazi forces. Per the description, the show will be a “window into one of history’s most remarkable and complicated women.”
Simpson, who made the announcement during PBS’ virtual Television Critics Association press tour, added, “Our MASTERPIECE viewers will be enthralled by this historical drama about a fiercely independent woman who influenced the course of world history. Margaret Nagle is the perfect writer to tell Clementine’s true story, and we’re proud to be partnering with Maven on this compelling series.”
Produced for PBS by GBH Boston, Masterpiece has been essential Sunday evening viewing since its founding in 1971. It’s for such hits like “Sherlock,” “Downton Abbey” and “Prime Suspect,” which have gone on to win numerous Emmys and Peabody Awards.