‘Poldark’ star joins David Tennant in new ’80s drama ‘Rivals’

Aidan Turner has begun filming his next TV series!

Best known for leading the BBC’s hit period drama Poldark for five seasons, the Irish actor is busy shooting a new show called Rivals.

The brand new eight-part drama for Disney+ comes from the producers of A Very English Scandal.

Based on the novel by Jilly Cooper, Rivals is part of the English author’s bestselling Rutshire Chronicles.

The story in Rivals is set in the ruthless world of independent television in 1986 – “where the shoulder pads are big and ambitions even bigger” – when a long-standing rivalry between two powerful men is about to boil over.

Alex Hassell (The Tragedy of Macbeth) is playing Rupert Campbell-Black, a “dashing ex-Olympian, Tory Member of Parliament and incorrigible rake.”

David Tennant (Doctor Who) will play Lord Tony Baddingham, Rupert’s single-mindedly ambitious and egotistical Rutshire neighbour.

As a long-simmering power struggle between the pair threatens to boil, Aidan Turner‘s TV presenter character Declan O’Hara – “fiercely intellectual, with an even fiercer temper” – finds himself caught in the crossfire.

Rivals is described as “a joyously mischievous rollercoaster ride, steamy in its love stories and packed with larger-than-life characters.”

The cast also includes Victoria Smurfit (Bloodlands) as Declan’s wife Maud, Bella Maclean (Sex Education) as their elder daughter  Taggie, and Catriona Chandler (Enola Holmes 2) as her sister Caitlin.

They’re joined by Danny Dyer (EastEnders), Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd), Oliver Chris (The Crown), Nafessa Williams (Black Lighting), Claire Rushbrook (Sherwood), Luke Pasqualino (The Musketeers), Emily Atack (The Inbetweeners), and Rufus Jones (W1A).

“I’m utterly enchanted to be able to announce our all-star line-up for Rivals,” commented Jilly Cooper.

“Featuring some of the best acting talent that the British Isles has to offer, I couldn’t have dreamed of a better ensemble cast,” she added. “I cannot wait to be on set and see them bring the characters I love so much to life. Viewers are in for a treat!”

Rivals has been adapted by Dominic Treadwell-Collins (A Very English Scandal, EastEnders) and Olivier Award-winning writer Laura Wade (The Riot Club).

“I have been wooing Jilly Cooper since I first started working in television,” revealed Treadwell-Collins.

“Jilly’s iconic novels’ razor-sharp observations on class, sex, love and what it means to be British resonate even more today than when Jilly wrote them in the 1980s.

“I’m so excited to bring Rivals to the screen, entertain fans of the beloved Cooperverse and introduce a whole new generation to the sweeping love stories, social satire and biting wit of Rutshire.”

When’s the release date?

Filming in the UK right now, Rivals is expected to premiere on Disney+ in the UK, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific in 2024.

It’ll be on Star+ in Latin America, but it’s not yet been confirmed who’ll be airing the series in the US.

Aidan Turner’s new tennis thriller Fifteen-Love premiered on Amazon Prime last week and you can take a look at the trailer here.

This November, David Tennant will be returning to Doctor Who for three specials to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the BBC’s long-running time-travel drama.

Jilly Cooper’s novel Rivals is available on Amazon.