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News International phone-hacking scandal to be made into TV drama

Caroline Davies
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

The News International phone-hacking scandal, which was exposed by the Guardian and led to the closure of the News of the World in 2011, is to be turned into a TV drama.

The series will be entitled Thank You & Goodbye after the Sunday tabloid’s final front-page headline. It will detail the fall of the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, which resulted in the imprisonment of its former editor Andy Coulson, who had become Downing Street’s director of communications, and Murdoch giving evidence to parliament.

The drama by Saul Dibb, the Bafta-nominated director of BBC drama The Salisbury Poisonings, and Luke Neal, the writer of the ITV popular drama series Des, will tell the inside story of the hacking scandal from the perspective of the journalists and private investigators involved.

Teddy Leifer of Rise Films, the Emmy-winning producer whose credits include the 2018 Oscar-winning documentary Icarus, will be executive producer.

The drama is described by the producers as an “epic story of criminal practice deployed on an industrial scale that becomes a powerful tale of redemption”.

Dibb said: “This is simply one of the most important, gripping and richest stories of this century – and yet we still don’t know even half of what really went on. Along with exceptional new talent Luke Neal and the brilliant Teddy Leifer and his team, I’m so excited we’re able to tell it all for the first time in dramatic form, and from the point of view of the people at the heart of it: the band of so-called ‘rogue reporters’ who then blew the whistle on those that had instructed them and the industry at large.”

Leifer said: “The story of the phone-hacking scandal becomes more relevant every day.

“The scandal and subsequent inquiry exposed just how interconnected certain newspapers were with the upper echelons of the political elite. Even though the News of the World was shut down, key players implicated in the scandal continued to take up positions of influence and shape the media ecosystem that surrounds us today.”

The scandal, which recently featured in the BBC documentary The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty, made international headlines when it was revealed that a private investigator hired by the paper had hacked the voicemail of the murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler. The subsequent investigation resulted in multiple arrests as well as the Leveson inquiry into the ethical practices of the British press.