ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill today confirmed commission of Torvill and Dean, a single film narrating Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean’s early years and the creative impetus that finally drove them to become ice dancing royalty.
Written by leading film, television and theatre writer, William Ivory (Made in Dagenham, Burton and Taylor, Common as Muck), Torvill and Dean tells the story of Jayne and Chris’s iconic partnership from both a personal and artistic perspective.
Game of Thrones actor, Will Tudor (Humans, Shadowhunters, Mr Selfridge) will take the role of Christopher Dean, and Poppy Lee Friar (Ackley Bridge) will play Jayne Torvill.
Anita Dobson (EastEnders) will take the role of Miss Perry, Jayne’s first coach at the Nottingham Ice Stadium, with Stephen Tompkinson (The Split) as Jayne’s father, George, whilst Jo Hartley (This Is England ’90) plays her mum Betty.
Dean Andrews (Last Tango in Halifax ) and Christine Bottomley (In the Club) will play Chris’s parents, Colin and Mavis, and Jaime Winstone (Babs) is Janet Sawbridge, the ice dancing instructor who pairs Chris and Jayne together for the first time. Susan Earl (So Awkward) takes the role of Betty Dean.
We’ll learn about their humble beginnings and family life in Nottingham; how Chris, following the breakup of his parents’ marriage, channelled his anger into skating and how Jayne, was outwardly reserved, and determined to explore her inwardly passionate nature. We explore how Chris and Jayne clashed as they separately and together tried to establish a new language for ice dance – one which won gold medals but also spoke to their private, intense relationship.
Both Jayne and Chris have spent many hours being interviewed by screenwriter, William Ivory, who was also born and bred in Nottingham and is a passionate advocate of the region.
Commented Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean:“We feel very honoured that ITV have commissioned this film based on what was a very significant period in each of our lives. We have thoroughly enjoyed the time we have spent with William Ivory and the team at Darlow Smithson sharing experiences of our passion for skating, the life long friendship that came through our sport and everything that it took to achieve our eventual goal of becoming Olympic champions.”
Writer William Ivory said:“It’s been such a privilege to work on this piece. Chris and Jayne are such fascinating characters: sports people and athletes with all the grit and determination that entails, but real artists, too, engaging in deeply felt creative and emotional battles.”
Commented ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill:“Torvill and Dean captures the emotional intensity of Jayne and Chris’s relationship from those early years as they endeavoured to create a world renowned ice dancing partnership. Their story to success is inspirational and I’m delighted we’re telling it on ITV. It’s a joy to be working with William Ivory, who is bringing this wonderful story to screen.”