‘Ruth’ cast: 1950s drama about last woman to hang in UK adds more stars

ITV has revealed further casting announced for its new true crime series Ruth!

The makers of VeraShetland and Mr Selfridge are adapting the gripping story of Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain, into a four-part drama.

Set in 1955, Ruth is described as “a compelling legal and emotional rollercoaster which explores Ruth’s arrest and trial and the subsequent race against the clock to reprieve her.”

It was announced this summer that nightclub manageress and convicted murderer Ruth Ellis will be played by British-American actress Lucy Boynton, best known for Why Didn’t They Ask Evans? and last year’s The Ipcress File mini-series.

We’ve now got details on several more familiar faces who’ve joined the cast.

Playing Ruth Ellis’s solicitor, John Bickford, will be Toby Jones (Empire of Light), pictured at the top of this article.

Bickford gradually realises the extent of Ruth’s abuse at the hands of David Blakely, and takes on the fight to make the case for provocation.

Ruth’s abusive lover and victim, David Blakely, will be played by Laurie Davidson (Mary and George).

And Mark Stanley from the third season of Happy Valley will play Desmond Cussen, Ruth’s devoted admirer and sometime lover; a regular at the Little Club who becomes caught up in Ruth’s toxic love triangle alongside Blakely.

The cast also includes another Happy Valley actor, with Joe Armstrong playing the detective in charge of Ruth’s case, DCI Davies.

Juliet Stevenson (Emma) plays Dr Charity Taylor, Governess of Holloway Prison, while former 007 villain Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) plays Ruth’s defence barrister, Melford Stevenson QC.

British TV fans will also recognise Arthur Darvill from World on Fire, Broadchurch and Doctor Who – as Victor Mishcon, Ruth’s charismatic divorce lawyer.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome such a stellar cast to join the amazing Lucy Boynton and bring to the screen our wonderful scripts by Kelly Jones,” commented executive producers Kate Bartlett and Antonia Gordon.

“We could not have dreamed of a more perfect cast to tell the compelling and complex story of Ruth Ellis,” they added.

Ruth is set to premiere in the UK on ITV1 in 2024, with the series also streaming on ITVX.

We expect the series will end up on BritBox in the US at a later date.

Carol Ann Lee’s book A Fine Day for a Hanging: The Real Ruth Ellis Story is available on Amazon.