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ITV have announced the commission of Joan, a six-part drama inspired by the true story of notorious jewel thief, Joan Hannington, with Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones) in the leading role.

Image: Mary McCarthy

Set in the fun, brash, aspirational world of 1980s London, the drama is a powerful female story that will premiere on the channel’s new, free streaming service ITVX.

Created for television by acclaimed screenwriter Anna Symon (Mrs Wilson, The Essex Serpent, Deep Water) from Joan’s memoirs, Joan is the true story of her meteoric rise from petty offender to highly talented diamond thief and criminal mastermind. Anna met with Joan Hannington whilst writing the series, and the drama will be filmed in London in the spring of 2023.

We’re first introduced to Joan in her twenties, a fiery, uncompromising, and intoxicating character, who is not without her own deep scars and vulnerability, as a doting and loving young mother to 4-year-old Debbie. She’s in a disastrous marriage to a violent thug, and when he goes on the run, Joan seizes the moment to leave her old life.

Inspired by her desire to care for Debbie and create a secure home for her daughter, Joan makes some heart-breaking decisions as she sets her sights on a better life.

Making full use of her sharp intelligence, charm, and her talent for impersonation and performance, we follow the twists and turns in Joan’s life, the ups and downs, the heartache and the joy, which makes her story a compelling television drama.

Sophie Turner said: “I’m so excited to be bringing Joan Hannington’s fascinating life story to screen in Joan. She is one of the most notorious figures in the criminal underworld of London, earning her the nickname “The Godmother.” A woman who goes between her thriving and daring career as a jewel thief, all whilst trying to get her daughter back from social services, we see a mother in despair swept up in the exhilarating world of crime.” ITV's Head Of Drama, Polly Hill, said: “Joan’s story is incredible, making a success of life when the stakes seem stacked against her, by not playing by the rules. Anna’s scripts are brilliant and a perfect fit for ITVX and I can’t wait to see Sophie Turner step into Joan’s shoes...

"Set in the 80’s with Richard Laxton directing and Ruth Kenley-Letts and Snowed-In producing, this is a great story with a great team bringing it to screen.” Producers Ruth Kenley-Letts, Jenny Van Der Lande and Neil Blair said: “We’re thrilled to be bringing Joan Hannington’s extraordinary and compelling life to the screen. Anna’s brilliant scripts are both heart-breaking and complex capturing Joan’s vivid and colourful life so perfectly. We couldn’t be more excited to have the wonderful Sophie Turner playing the title role. And in Richard Laxton we have the perfect director to tell Joan’s story.”

Commented Richard Laxton: “I am so excited to bring this story and Anna’s astounding script to life. With Sophie Turner in the title role and the 1980’s as a rich and vibrant backdrop Joan is sure to be an exhilarating and compelling ride.” All3Media International will be responsible for the international distribution of the drama. The series is produced in association with All3Media International.


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