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Hulu Reveals First Look at Dame Jilly Cooper’s Rivals

Hulu today gave a first glimpse of the avidly awaited eight-part series Rivals, based on the celebrated novel by Dame Jilly Cooper and produced by Happy Prince, part of ITV Studios. The series is set to debut on Disney+ in other countries later this year.

Set against the backdrop of the drama, excess, and shocking antics of the power-grabbing social elite of 1980s England, Rivals delves headfirst into the ruthless world of independent television in 1986.

Hulu Reveals First Look at Dame Jilly Cooper's Rivals

This first wave of images unveiled six iconic characters from the drama. Alex Hassell (The Tragedy of Macbeth, The Boys) plays the dashing ex-Olympian, Member of Parliament, incorrigible rake, and dangerously charismatic Rupert Campbell-Black.

David Tennant (Doctor Who, Good Omens) features as Lord Tony Baddingham, controller of Corinium Television and Rupert’s single-mindedly ambitious and egotistical adversary. Aidan Turner (Poldark, The Suspect) is journalist and TV presenter Declan O’Hara, who becomes caught in the crossfire of the long-simmering feud between Rupert and Tony.

Alex Hassell in Rivals

Nafessa Williams (Black Lighting, Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody) is pictured as Cameron Cook, a ferociously talented American TV executive who is brought to England by Tony to produce Declan’s new prime-time talk show.

Katherine Parkinson (Humans, Here We Go) plays Lizzie Vereker, a romantic novelist suffering from a distinct lack of romance in her life, and Bella Maclean (Spring Awakening, Sex Education) is Taggie O’Hara, Declan’s tender-hearted yet strong-willed eldest daughter and unexpected temptation for Rupert.

Aidan Turner

The series also stars Emily Atack, Catriona Chandler, Oliver Chris, Danny Dyer, Rufus Jones, Lisa McGrillis, Luke Pasqualino, Claire Rushbrook, and Victoria Smurfit.

Rivals is executive produced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins (A Very English Scandal, Holding, EastEnders), Alexander Lamb (Ackley Bridge, The Bay, We Hunt Together), Felicity Blunt, Olivier Award-winning playwright Laura Wade (The Riot Club), Rivals author Dame Jilly Cooper and Director of Scripted Content for Disney+ EMEA Lee Mason. Rivals is produced by Happy Prince, which is part of ITV Studios.

Nafessa Williams

The series is written by Dominic Treadwell-Collins and Laura Wade alongside the series episodic writers’ room, which includes Sophie Goodhart (The Baby, Sex Education), Marek Horn (Wild Swimming, Octopolis), Mimi Hare & Clare Naylor (The Accidental Husband), Dare Aiyegbayo (The Dumping Ground, EastEnders), and Kefi Chadwick (Looted, Avoidance).

Tray Agyeman is a shadow writer on episode 6, and Sorcha Kurien Walsh (The Pink Pill) is the staff writer in the room. The casting director is Kelly Valentine Hendry (Bridgerton, The Last Kingdom, Kaos).

Katherine Parkinson

The lead director is BAFTA-nominated Elliot Hegarty (Ted Lasso, Cheaters, Trying), who also serves as executive producer on episodes 1-4.

Eliza Mellor (The Midwich Cuckoos, Behind Her Eyes, Poldark) produces the series. Dee Koppang O’Leary (The Crown) and Alexandra Brodski (Somewhere Boy) also direct episodes.

Bella Maclean