Sophie Turner to lead new ITVX Drama, Joan

The new six-part drama is inspired by the life of Joan Hannington, the UK's most notorious jewel thief and has been written by Anna Symon.

Credit: Mary McCarthy

Set in the fun, brash, aspirational world of 1980s London, Joan promises to be a powerful female story created for television by acclaimed screenwriter Anna Symon from Joan Hannington's memoirs. It's the true story of her meteoric rise from petty offender to highly talented diamond thief and criminal mastermind.


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, the drama will 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.


Speaking about the new drama, Sophie Turner, who takes on the leading role of Joan Hannington in Joan 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."


Joan will be executive produced by Ruth Kenley-Letts, CEO of Snowed-In Productions, Jenny Van Der Lande, Creative Director of Snowed-In and Neil Blair, Chairman of Snowed-In. It will be directed by Richard Laxton and produced by Paul Frift.


ITV’s Head of Drama, Polly Hill, who commissioned the drama, 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."


To which executive producers Ruth Kenley-Letts, Jenny Van Der Lande and Neil Blair added "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."


And director Richard Laxton said "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."


Writer Anna Symon met with Joan Hannington whilst writing the series, and speaking about the drama, which will be filmed in London in the spring of 2023, Anna said "From penniless single parent to accomplished diamond thief, Joan Hannington’s life story is a thrilling, rags-to-riches rollercoaster. I couldn’t be more excited to watch the stellar talent Sophie Turner step into Joan's shoes."


"Ever since I first read Joan’s explosive memoir, I have been desperate to bring her story to screen and I am thrilled to be collaborating once again with the incredibly talented teams at Snowed-In Productions and ITV. With the brilliant Richard Laxton at the helm, I cannot wait to get started."


Joan will launch on ITVX