Filming has begun in and around London and Oxford on Stephen Poliakoff's six-part, semi-autobiographical Cold War drama, set in 1958.
The all-star cast includes Toby Stephens (Lost in Space, Die Another Day) as Russian Jewish émigré Samuel, an inventor and designer of bespoke hearing aids, whose patrons include Winston Churchill.
Set against the backdrop of Britain testing its first hydrogen bomb, the series revolves around Samuel’s family life with his wife and two children after he is approached by MI5 to demonstrate his work.
All is not as it seems, for Samuel is soon enlisted to gather information about his amiable new friends Kathleen (Keeley Hawes, Line of Duty) and her husband Richard Shaw MP (Linus Roache, Vikings, Homeland). Through these friends he is also introduced to an imposing Lord Arthur Wallington, played by Timothy Spall (Mr Turner). As his work and life become inseparable, Samuel begins to wonder how far he will go for his cause and who he can truly trust.
“I’m utterly delighted to be working with Stephen for the third time,” said actor Timothy Spall. He added, “As ever, the scripts are wonderful, the story is completely original and totally compelling and surprising, as is the gallery of fascinating characters.”
Actor Linus Roache also commented, “[The Cold War] might be 60 years ago now but Stephen’s story provides a fascinating reflection of the kind of intrigue and mistrust we find ourselves in the midst of again in the world today. I love it when historical drama feels almost shockingly relevant.”
Written and directed by multi-award-winning director Stephen Poliakoff, Summer of Rockets will offer a particular insight into an extraordinary time in British history through a lens close to his heart. The drama was commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller of BBC Two, and Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, and will be distributed internationally by BBC Studios.