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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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Anna Maxwell Martin and Brian Cox announced to star in BBC drama Bringing Down The House

Update – 4 February 2010: since this press release was posted on 9 December 2009 the title of the programme has been changed to On Expenses.

BAFTA award-winning Anna Maxwell Martin (Freefall, White Girl, Bleak House) has been announced to play journalist and campaigner Heather Brooke, whose tenacious investigations brought about the disclosure of MPs' expenses, in one-off drama Bringing Down The House for BBC Four.

Brian Cox will star opposite Anna as Speaker of the House of Commons Michael Martin, who was forced to resign after finding himself in a battle against Heather's determination for Freedom of Information relating to MPs' expenses and allowances.

Written by Tony Saint (The Long Walk To Finchley, Micro Men) and directed by Simon Cellan Jones (Generation Kill, The Trial Of Tony Blair), the humorous 60-minute drama will focus on the events leading up to one of the biggest political scandals in recent history, and reveal the David and Goliath tale behind the now infamous headlines.

Bringing Down The House will also star Alex Jennings (Cranford, The Queen), as Fees Office head Andrew Walker, the man in charge of approving MPs expenses; Tim Pigott-Smith (Quantum Of Solace, North & South) as Labour MP Alan Keen; and Neil Pearson (The State Within, Bridget Jones) as Hugh Tomlinson QC, who successfully led the legal campaign to force the Commons to publish the claims.

Patrick Spence, Head of Drama Northern Ireland, says: "Heather Brooke's story is both inspirational and timely, and we're delighted to announce such an esteemed cast to bring Tony Saint's witty script to life."

An American journalist living in the UK, Heather Brooke doggedly fought for details of MPs' expenses under the Freedom of Information Act after her legitimate requests were declined by the House of Commons.

Taking her case all the way to the High Court, Brooke won the case against the House of Commons – but heartbreakingly lost the scoop.

Bringing Down The House was commissioned by Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning.

The executive producer is Patrick Spence (Five Minutes Of Heaven, Occupation), and Stephen Wright (Five Minutes Of Heaven, Murphy's Law) is producing.

Filming has begun in and around London.

Bringing Down The House is the latest drama commission for BBC Four which also includes the critically-acclaimed Women We Loved season (Enid, Gracie!, Margot), The Curse Of Comedy season, Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk To Finchley, Barbara Cartland, Fanny Hill and Crooked House.


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