The Duke of Wellington was the most famous Briton of the first half of the 19th century. His victory over Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815 altered the course of history. The hero of Waterloo became a towering figure in British history for both his achievements and for embodying our notions of Britishness – the stiff upper lip, unfussy straightforwardness, incorruptibility in office – he was the Iron Duke.
This new documentary drama will look behind the iron mask and focus on the intriguing complexities of the Duke of Wellington – the man – his character, personality and relationships, told through his own words, and the words of those who knew him best. General, politician, lover, outsider – the programme discovers that the hero of Waterloo was far more complex than his public image.
Drawing on his own vast, private correspondence, as well as the diaries and memoirs of those around him, this biographical film will use dramatic reconstruction to create an intimate portrait of the Duke of Wellington, who will be played by Richard E. Grant (Withnail and I, The Iron Lady, Jekyll and Hyde).
Wellington: The Iron Duke will be broadcast at 9pm on Sunday 10 May on BBC Two.