Lord Lucan ITV drama to star Rory Kinnear

Lord Lucan and Rory Kinnear Rory Kinnear (r) will be seen shortly in Channel 4 drama Southcliffe

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Skyfall actor Rory Kinnear is to play aristocrat Lord Lucan in a two-part ITV drama marking the 40th anniversary of his mysterious disappearance.

The 7th Earl of Lucan vanished after the death of his children's nanny, Sandra Rivett, in 1974.

An inquest subsequently ruled that he murdered her.

The drama is based on John Pearson's book The Gamblers, which claimed Lucan's wealthy friends helped him leave the country.

Christopher Eccleston and Sir Michael Gambon will also appear in the drama, which will begin filming in London in August.

Writer Jeff Pope has penned a number of true crime dramas for ITV, including Mrs Biggs, and acted as executive producer on Appropriate Adult and The Murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Sandra Rivett was found dead at the home of Lord Lucan's estranged wife in the Belgravia area of London in 1974.

Lady Lucan was also attacked but managed to escape.

Declared dead

Lord Lucan disappeared and his car was later found abandoned and soaked in blood in Newhaven, East Sussex.

A year later an inquest jury ruled that Lord Lucan had killed Rivett, whom many believe was mistaken by the aristocrat for his wife Veronica.

Lord Lucan was officially declared dead by the High Court in 1999. Since his disappearance there have been numerous "sightings" around the world.

Executive producer Francis Hopkinson said the drama would bring "new insight and revelations which will surprise the audience".

Kinnear, the son of actor Roy, played Bill Tinner in the Bond films Quantum of Solace and Skyfall and can be seen this weekend in Channel 4 drama Southcliffe.

His first play, The Herd, has its premiere at the Bush theatre in London in September.

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