David Tennant’s TV portrayal of late Russian dissident Litvinenko praised by widow | Inquirer Entertainment

David Tennant’s TV portrayal of late Russian dissident Litvinenko praised by widow

/ 04:17 PM December 14, 2022

Marina Litvinenko, widow of murdered Russian ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko, talks to members of the media during the press launch of the opera entitled “The Life and Death of Alexander Litvinenko” in London on Feb. 24, 2020. Marina, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022, praised British actor David Tennant’s portrayal of her husband in a new TV drama. TOLGA AKMEN / AFP

LONDON, United Kingdom—The widow of Alexander Litvinenko, the dissident former Russian security agent poisoned with radioactive polonium, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, praised British actor David Tennant’s portrayal of her husband in a new TV drama.

“When I saw what David did, it’s unbelievable. It’s really unbelievable. It makes me feel very grateful,” Marina Litvinenko said of the performance by Scottish actor known for roles including Doctor Who in the BBC science-fiction series.


Marina Litvinenko was speaking at a question-and-answer session at the Royal Television Society, a video of which was posted online Tuesday, ahead of the first episode of the “Litvinenko” drama series on ITVX on Thursday.


She said she had agreed to the series because she felt that it would be “very, very close and very accurate.”

The portrayal of her husband was “not simply a job” but “very much from the heart,” she said.

The series has received a poor review from The Guardian newspaper, however, whose critic said Tennant’s Russian accent reminded him of Portuguese football manager Jose Mourinho.

Marina Litvinenko said she hoped the series would remind people of the events in 2006 when her husband died from severe radioactive poisoning in London, accusing President Vladimir Putin in a letter written from his deathbed.

“It will be very good to remind people of what happened,” she said, drawing a link between the daylight poisoning and Russia’s aggression toward Ukraine.

“I see a very strong link between what happened in 2006 and what is happening now in 2022,” she said, giving the view that the Kremlin’s strategy “started then, maybe even earlier, but people just didn’t want to see this.”


Britain says Litvinenko died after drinking tea laced with the radioactive isotope Polonium 210 at a hotel, in a case that sparked global outrage and has weighed on relations between London and Moscow ever since.

One of the prime suspects in the 2006 killing, Andrei Lugovoi, still serves as a Russian lawmaker. The other, Dmitry Kovtun, died in June this year from an illness related to Covid.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights ruled in September that Russia was responsible for the killing of Litvinenko, a verdict swiftly rejected by Moscow.

British police identified Lugovoi and businessman Kovtun as prime suspects after they both met Litvinenko at a central London hotel.

But attempts to extradite them failed and they both rejected the charges, with Lugovoi also claiming parliamentary immunity.

The murder has previously been dramatized in an opera called “The Life & Death of Alexander Litvinenko,” staged in the UK in 2021.  /ra


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