‘Mrs Churchill’ drama series about Winston Churchill’s wife is coming to PBS

PBS is developing a new television drama exploring the public and private life of Clementine Churchill.

Born in London in 1885, she was the wife of British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.

The five-part limited series comes from the executive producer of World on Fire, Endeavour, Unforgotten, and Grantchester.

Susanne Simpson from PBS Masterpiece made the announcement during the recent virtual Television Critics Association press tour.

Simpson said: “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.

Celine Rattray from production company Maven commented: “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.”

We’re told that each of the five episodes will follow Clementine through pivotal moments of her life.

Mrs Churchill, as it’s titled for now, is being written by award-winning American screenwriter Margaret Nagle, best known for her work on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.

Mrs Churchill is expected to premiere on PBS in 2023.

The official synopsis reads: “This is 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. Clementine’s story has slipped through the cracks of history. The magnitude of her many achievements are only recently being recognized.

“Raised by an unstable mother in relative poverty caring for her siblings, Clementine became a suffragette working two jobs. Known as the “Broke Beauty,” she refused to marry for money or to a man she didn’t love.

“The series will follow her courtship with Winston and struggle with motherhood, her broken relationship with her young niece, Diana Mitford, who was brainwashed by fascism, her pivotal relationship with American Harry Hopkins (FDR’s conscience) who held the purse strings to (yet to be created) Land Lease, ensuring England could survive against the Germans until America joined the war, and a climactic trip to Russia where she goes toe to toe with Stalin.

“The show will be a window into one of history’s most remarkable and complicated women.”

We don’t yet have details of a UK broadcaster, but we expect PBS to partner with the BBC, ITV or BritBox on the production.

Sonia Purnell’s book Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill is available on Amazon.