David Tennant's new Disney+ series Rivals begins filming in Wiltshire

The show is executive produced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins and Alexander Lamb for Happy Prince, and author Jilly Cooper

By Priyanca Rajput 12 Jul 2023

David Tennant's new Disney+ series Rivals begins filming in Wiltshire
Rivals cast. Credit: Disney+

Rivals, a new eight-part series based on the 1988 Jilly Cooper novel of the same has started filming on location in Wiltshire, UK for Disney+.

The production began shooting in Bristol's Bottle Yard Studios’ new facility, TBY2 on 6 March.

Rivals is part of the author’s bestselling Rutshire Chronicles, set in the affluent elite of 1980s England.

The logline per the streamer reads: "Rivals dives headfirst into the cutthroat world of independent television in 1986, where the shoulder pads are big and ambitions even bigger. In the fictional upper-class county of Rutshire, a long-standing rivalry between two powerful men is about to boil over: ex-Olympian, Member of Parliament, and notorious womaniser Rupert Campbell-Black, and his Rutshire neighbour Tony Baddingham, controller of the independent TV franchise Corinium Television. As tensions rise and rivalries deepen, there are spilled secrets, forged alliances, and snatched liaisons that draw wives, lovers, colleagues, friends, and families into their battle.

"Rivals is a joyously mischievous rollercoaster ride, steamy in its love stories and packed with larger-than-life characters. Yet beneath the spectacle and fun, the series brings a 2020s lens to the 1980s, offering a raw exploration of a complicated moment in British history when class, race, sex, wealth, and sexual liberation meant that, for the very privileged few, there were no limits to what they could achieve."

The series stars David Tennant, Alex Hassell, Aidan Turner, Nafessa Williams, Bella Maclean, Katherine Parkinson, Danny Dyer, Victoria Smurfit, Claire Rushbrook, Oliver Chris, Lisa McGrillis, Emily Atack, Rufus Jones, Luke Pasqualino and Catriona Chandler as part of the ensemble cast.

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

Filming is currently taking place in Wiltshire, South West England.

EP and Rivals author Jilly Cooper commented: “I am so, so excited. Throughout my childhood, my favourite word was ‘Disney’, and by a miraculous coincidence, greater-than-ever Disney are joining forces with an utterly brilliant drama company, Happy Prince, to turn my novel into a TV series. I know they will bring the boardroom battles and love triangles of my characters to life – particularly those of my devastatingly handsome hero. I cannot wait to see who will be stepping into his shoes…let the hunt for our Rupert Campbell-Black commence!”

Lee Mason, director of Scripted Content, EMEA, Disney+ added: “The combination of Jilly Cooper and Disney+ is delightfully unexpected. We were thrilled when Dominic brought us these iconic books, and we leapt at the chance to bring them to life. We can’t wait to welcome Rupert Campbell-Black and the residents of Rutshire to the platform.”

The UK original series will premiere on Disney+ in EMEA and Asia Pacific and Star+ in Latin America.

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