KIDNAP AND RANSOM
Kidnap and Ransom press release ..................................................... Pages 3 - 5
Trevor Eve is Dominic King ................................................................. Pages 6 - 9
Helen Baxendale is Angela Beddoes .............................................. Pages 10 - 12
John Hannah is Alexander Willard .................................................. Pages 13 - 15
Synopses ........................................................................................ Pages 16 - 17
Cast list .................................................................................................... Page 18
For further information please contact:
Tim West, ITV Press office – 020 7157 3040 or email@example.com
Patrick Smith, ITV Picture Desk – 020 7157 3044 or firstname.lastname@example.org
***The information attached is strictly embargoed from all press use, non
commercial publication, or syndication until Wednesday 5th January 2011***
ITV commissions brand new primetime drama
KIDNAP AND RANSOM starring TREVOR EVE
Kidnap and Ransom stars one of the UK’s leading screen actors, TREVOR
EVE (Waking the Dead, Framed) as international hostage negotiator, Dominic
King. The three x 60 minute primetime thriller is the first drama to come out of
Eve’s production company, Projector Pictures, whilst in partnership with
The series has been created by acclaimed scriptwriter Patrick Harbinson (24,
Law and Order, ER), and was filmed on location in South Africa.
Eve stars alongside, JOHN HANNAH (Rebus, Cold Blood), HELEN
BAXENDALE (Marple, Cold Feet), NATASHA LITTLE (Mistresses, This Life),
EMMA FIELDING (Cranford), AMARA KARAN (The Darjeeling Limited),
PATRICK BALADI (Mistresses, Identity).
When a businesswoman (Emma Fielding) is kidnapped in South Africa, expert
hostage negotiator Dominic King (Trevor Eve) believes he’s dealing with a
straightforward case – pay the money, get her back.
But when the release is botched and they strike again in Britain, the
kidnapper, Willard’s (John Hannah) motives become far more sinister. With
trouble brewing at home with his wife Sophie (Natasha Little) and teenage
daughter - and his team, boss Angela (Helen Baxendale) and ambitious
assistant Carrie (Amara Karan) pushed to the limit, King must draw on all his
reserves to bring the victims home alive.
Trevor Eve says of the commission:
“I’m thrilled to be working on this, our first production since Projector joined
talkbackTHAMES. It’s wonderful to be working with Laura and Sally at ITV on
what we all hope will be a really compelling thriller.”
CEO of talkbackTHAMES, Sara Geater said: "It's a pleasure to be working
with Trevor Eve, his talents as one of the country’s leading actors coupled
with his editorial vision, combined with a stunning script, make Kidnap and
Ransom a thrilling and hugely exciting new drama."
KIDNAP AND RANSOM has been commissioned by ITV1’s Director of Drama
Commissioning Laura Mackie and Controller of Drama Commissioning, Sally
“Kidnap and Ransom is a fascinating, unpredictable and gripping thriller and
we’re delighted to be working with Trevor’s production company on such an
exciting project” said Laura.
KIDNAP AND RANSOM is a talkbackTHAMES/Projector Pictures co-
production for ITV1.
Executive Producers are Trevor Eve, Jonathan Young and Rachel Gesua.
The producer is Trevor Hopkins and the Director is Andy Wilson.
For further information:
For programme publicity enquiries: Tim West
0207 157 3040 or email@example.com
For picture enquiries: Patrick Smith
020 7157 3044 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
In 2007, talkbackTHAMES and the Fremantlemedia Group, partnered with
Trevor Eve and his drama company Projector Pictures. Kidnap and Ransom
is the debut commission under this partnership.
FremantleMedia is one of the largest international creators and producers of
entertainment brands in the world with leading prime time drama, serial
drama, entertainment and factual entertainment programming.
FremantleMedia Enterprises, the company’s content exploitation arm, offers a
comprehensive Licensing, Distribution and Home Entertainment world wide
brand extension programme. FremantleMedia is a subsidiary of RTL Group,
Europe's largest television and radio broadcast company, which is 90%
owned by Bertelsmann AG, an integrated media and entertainment company
that commands leading positions in the world's media markets.
Trevor Eve plays Dominic King
How was Kidnap and Ransom brought to the screen?
We developed it out of my company Projector. When you’re developing
around work that you can do as an actor on prime time television - and I’ve
been doing it for a long time - there’s a sort of list of areas that you can go
into. Crime, medicine, they get done, don’t they in all shapes and forms? I
was looking for an area that hadn’t been explored in terms of the workplace
arena and we came up with hostage negotiation. We wanted to do a story
based around the life of an ex-military man who became a hostage negotiator.
It happens a lot - ex SAS guys, when they hit their 50s, go in to private
security: the ‘grey hairs’ as they call them. So we knew we wanted to do that
and then it was a question of coming up with the story and creating the life
around this man.
How involved have you been on the editorial side?
Oh very involved. I have three people in the team and we do everything. We
brainstorm the stuff and then decide on who writes it and pull in the writer.
When we went to Patrick Harbinson we knew that there was a hostage
negotiator, we knew that we wanted him to have a family, we knew that there
were certain ingredients, and we knew the territories that we didn’t want to go
into and the ones we did.
Describe your character Dominic King
He was in the first Gulf War in ’91 so we’ve put an historic reference to that in
that he maybe was unethical in certain areas - as I’m sure under the pressure
of war a lot of people are. I don’t think he’s in any way got a dark past, but I
think he’s been a very tough military guy and I’m sure he’s not got a 100%
perfect record. Then age would have got him so he was desked probably and
then that finishes them off. So he went into private security.
What attracted you to the character of Dominic?
The life of a hostage negotiator is strange places, little hotel rooms, dealing
with rather unpleasant people all the time. That’s their thing and they have to
have a great sense of calm. That was what attracted me to it. Because having
played Boyd in Waking the Dead, who’s an irascible, volatile person, we were
looking for something different. Boyd would be a terrible hostage negotiator.
Were there clichés to do with hostage negotiation that you wanted to avoid?
It’s very interesting, but when you start doing this research and you go,
“Surely we’re not going to have the old, ‘the kidnappers pull up with the
hostage and then he comes out the car, the negotiator walks across and
takes him with his head in a bag,’ we’ll do a different scenario. We won’t put
the money in a rubbish bin. And then you talk to the real life hostage
negotiators and they go, “Well that’s what you do.” That is the world.
You star and you’re executive producer too. Was it a lot to take on?
No, because I’ve got a great team. But yes, it is a major difference when
you’re producing and being in it because your day doesn’t finish when you
finish filming; you’ve got the dailies to look at from the previous day or you’ve
got discussions about tomorrow so it’s pretty full on. But I like that - I find it
exhilarating, stimulating. I prefer to be doing that than sitting in my trailer for
five hours waiting to go on and do my three lines. That’s a pretty dull way of
How closely were you involved in casting? Did John Hannah or Helen
Baxendale have to come in and audition in front of Trevor Eve?
No, no! I’ve always been very aware of the agony of auditioning for actors so
I’ve never really attended any. I know what’s happening and obviously John
and Helen they don’t need to be filmed - you know what you’re getting, which
Did you meet real life negotiators in your research?
I’ve met six or seven. Losing a hostage is their absolute nightmare because it
all comes back to them, their errors and omissions. They’re investigated by
insurers - all the stuff they’ve said is recorded and they’ll look for the one
mistake or the word that was antagonistic and maybe provoked reaction from
Of the negotiators you met, what marked them out?
Their calm. You have to be. Interestingly there are very few, if any, young
guns in the game. They’re all old guys because the kidnappers want to talk to
a mature guy who’s got a family who understands. They want a real staid,
calm guy and you can never lose your cool. You can trick them
psychologically; they’ve got lots of tricks and stuff, which hopefully will unfold
if we make more, but calmness is the key. You have to not feel frightened
from any threat and basically be able to go into these countries and sit in a
hotel room knowing that the kidnappers probably know who you are and
where you are and if they wanted to they could just bump you off.
Is there one man or woman who is known to be the best?
There’s a guy that, I think, has done 32 [successful releases] I think. There’s
one very successful guy that lives way out in the country in this country and
there’s one well respected guy in the States, both in their 60s.
Aren’t they scared?
You talk to them and you say, “So is it dangerous?” “No, no, not really.” “So
your life isn’t at risk?” And they go, “Well yeah, but that’s why we do it.” They
Kidnap and Ransom is also a family drama about King’s dysfunctional
relationship with his daughter and wife. Is that based on reality, too?
Yes. The absolute classic backdrop to the stories of the negotiations is the
marriage break-ups. These people have been out in the field. The adjustment
rate is really, really difficult. If you’ve spent your life in the military and you’ve
gone through the Falklands and the first Gulf War, home life and Tesco’s is
not great. Being out in the field, it’s a drug. Add the home life to the work life -
the idea of being at the point of jeopardy in your job and also being on the
brink emotionally in your life - the combination of those I think is explosive.
Do you think you could do it?
Hostage negotiation? I think I’d be terrible. I think I’d probably … it would be
hard to control your temper wouldn’t it? And then the minute you get angry
Helen Baxendale plays Angela Beddoes
What’s the setting for Kidnap and Ransom?
It’s about a company that has set itself up because there’s a gap in the market
in the provision for hostage negotiation between kidnappers and insurance
companies or families of people who’ve been taken hostage. It is based on an
actual company, in fact there a couple, but one was the basis of this and
Trevor and the writer went to visit these people.
What were they called? Is it a big secret?
I don’t know what they’re called. I don’t think they exactly advertise
themselves in Hello! magazine. But obviously governments can’t be seen to
be negotiating with kidnappers so somebody has to do it and also there’s
money to be made because a lot of the people who are kidnapped are insured
to large values. So though Kidnap and Ransom is fiction, it’s not fictional in
that companies like these do exist. And kidnaps and negotiations are
happening in Iraq and Somalia and other dangerous places in the world.
Who do you play?
Angela Beddoes is one of the founding partners of the company and I deal
with the rather less exciting corporate aspect of the business, trying to keep
the business afloat. I’d say I’m a bit like M in James Bond.
Does that mean you missed out on filming in South Africa?
Well the magic of filming means that I can go and shoot ‘London’ in Africa,
which is what they did. Ironically it is cheaper to shoot London in Africa than it
is to shoot London in London. We were all taken en masse for five weeks and
as we weren’t all working for five weeks, we got to see quite a lot of South
Did you take the family?
Well I have three kids and I had not been away from them before. My
youngest is four and I think I’d not spent more than a night away from him
until that point, so I got very upset and said, “I need to bring them out.” So
they came out for two weeks, even though I wasn’t really allowed to with
school. But I did and it was an amazing experience.
Why did you choose this script?
I tell you it was less choosing a script and more like ‘yes, I’ve got a job!’ It was
just before Christmas  and I decided that I had turned my back on
enough work! A few years ago I did make a bit of a conscious decision at one
point not to go from one thing to the other and kind of took myself out a bit,
but the more you do that the less work there is. This was the next good thing
that came along and I couldn’t wait to do it.
Has this rekindled your enthusiasm for acting then?
My enthusiasm for acting has not diminished at all; in fact it’s accrued
because I feel like when I do it, it’s my time - it’s a holiday from being a mum,
and it’s a chance to use my brain in a way that I don’t usually.
What have you learnt about the real world of corporate negotiations?
Well they sat us down after the read through and they took us through the ins
and outs of hostage negotiation. Because it’s quite tricky - there are set ways
of negotiating, things you can and can’t do and ways the insurance
companies work. Basically it’s about how much you involve police because
the minute you involve police that’s involving governments and you get in all
sorts of trouble - negotiations like these are not really meant to be happening.
As far as the governments are concerned they don’t want to know it’s
happening because then there are no recriminations.
Are these kind of surreptitious negotiations happening more often these days?
I think it’s happening more and more in these unstable areas where the West
has gone in and tried to sort out some dodgy regime - and then just left it.
What is Angela and Dominic’s relationship?
I think it’s a good working relationship. I think she has to remind him it’s a
business, but I think she respects what he does. Working with Trevor was a
delight. It’s his production, it’s his company. I think he was utterly excited and
delighted for it to be happening and he was utterly charming and lovely to
work with, I have to say.
John Hannah plays Alexander Willard
Describe your character Alexander Willard
I suppose he is the bad guy! But he’s not that bad… alright he kills somebody
and he kidnaps somebody, but that’s not really that bad, is it? Anyway, the
way I played it and the way Andy [Wilson, Director] wanted it played was very
emotionless – to him the kidnapping is just business, you know? He’s a
businessman and it seems to me that’s kind of a natural progression of
capitalism: it’s like everything’s for sale and everything’s got a price. In fact in
this case both sides – the negotiator and the kidnapper – are supposed to be
emotionally uninvolved. To them both it’s a business transaction, the same as
if they were selling commodities or futures.
Does that mean your and Trevor Eve’s characters are in some ways similar?
Yeah and I think there’s one point in it where my character says, “Look, if it
comes to it, I just want to do the deal and we can go and sit down and have a
drink afterwards,” and I think that’s probably absolutely true. The only reason
it becomes emotional ultimately is because the cops got involved and messed
up the deal as it were.
How would you describe Kidnap and Ransom?
Well first of all it’s a very current topic - when we were filming the negotiations
were ongoing for that couple that were held in Somalia. [Paul and Rachel
Chandler, who were eventually released in November]. In TV terms it’s set up
as a thriller like any thriller but actually, I see it as more like the way the
Americans would make a thriller. It’s got a kind of visual sense to it that I don’t
think you get very often on British television. Ultimately we see our television
as being an extension of our theatrical heritage. With this the scripts are great,
they’ve told a good story, a good thriller, but I think they’ve brought a kind of
un-British cinematic quality to it. Another reason you don’t really get that on
British television because it’s cheaper to have two people sitting in a room
talking to each other most of the time.
What research did you do?
Our back-story is that my character’s ex-army, so I read a book while I was
down there by this guy Eeben Barlow, who founded the private military
contractors Executive Outcomes. I read that, just to get a bit of a context. I
suppose you come out of the army and these are the things that you know
and you think, “Well what am I going to do now? Security … legitimate
security, illegitimate security…” They’ve got to make a living and this is the
world we’re in now. Barlow talks in his book about arms deals that they were
doing when South Africa was supposed to be having all these sanctions. It
was so easy. I’m fairly political, and I think anybody who’s got their eyes open
to what’s happening in the world is going to not be overly surprised about how
deals get done, whether it’s individuals or whether it’s commodities. After all,
to characters like mine, an individual is just a commodity isn’t it? So you get
into that mindset then and you have to suspend moral opinion about these
kind of people. You simply play the guy and allow other people to interpret
what that means. The bad things that he does to others, he does them for a
reason - it’s about what you do to someone to make them submissive,
dehumanising people in order to deal with them like they did in the
Did you get much time on set with Trevor Eve, given that most of your scenes
with him take place on the phone?
It was all phone calls! There was one scene we had together actually right at
the very end, though. Normally for a phone call you’re told, “Right, you can
have an earpiece and we’ll record his bit and you can do your bits separately.”
Whereas in fact the easiest way is often to say, “Look, why don’t I just turn
up? Why don’t I just turn up and I’ll duck down in the corner, pretend that I’m
not there and we’ll play the scenes so that we can just respond to each other,”
and that’s how we did it. Trevor was sitting on his living room sofa and I was
hiding behind the camera, trying not to be in his eye line.
How was working with Trevor Eve as both actor and producer?
We were having the read through and he made a comment alluding to the fact
that he does have a reputation for being his own man! But in fact he was
lovely. I think because he was the producer as well and because the project
was his baby he wanted everybody to feel part of it and to feel as responsible
for it as he did. It helped the production, too, the fact that he was there, both
star and producer, and we didn’t have to constantly refer back to an exec
about changing this line or that.
You’ve played a couple of baddies in recent years – first in Spartacus and
now this. Is it more fun than playing the good guys?
Everything’s a different challenge. With Kidnap and Ransom Willard has that
kind of cold, dispassionate way of being. The challenge for an actor is like,
“Well what is that then? What is that that makes you look at somebody and
go, ‘They’re a bit dangerous.’?” I used to live in a YMCA and I shared a room
with this guy. He was never in a fight the whole time we were there. Nobody
ever picked a fight with him; yet everybody knew he was a nutter. And yet
he’d never been in a fight we’d seen, so how did everybody know? That’s a
thing you’re looking for. That aura.
How was filming in South Africa?
Great - I took the kids out. The first episode was dead light for me so I did the
read through and then I had two weeks off. We went on safari and hung about
in Cape Town and it was lovely.
When Naomi Shaffer gets kidnapped in South Africa on business, Dominic
King, a kidnap and ransom negotiator, is responsible for bringing her home.
With the help of his colleagues, Dominic quickly establishes that the
kidnappers are amateur street kids and out of their depth. Haunted by
memories of his previous negotiation failing, he is keen to secure Naomi’s
swift release. Despite having to leave his family again so soon, he flies to
Cape Town to appease the kidnappers’ demand by promising $100,000 in
cash. Everything seems to be going smoothly but at the handover things go
With Naomi still being held hostage, a local South African policeman,
Inspector Lanning, is keen to join forces with Dominic to solve this case, but
Dominic is wary. The amateur kidnappers have been superseded by a group
that is much more professional, with a mysterious British man, Willard, in
charge. After tough negotiations with Dominic, Willard agrees to release
Naomi and Dominic brings Naomi home. Meanwhile, Dominic’s demanding
job is straining his relationship with his wife, Sophie and daughter, Tess.
Dominic keeps an eye on Naomi after her return, suspecting she’s holding
something back and late one night the kidnappers strike again.
Dominic’s fears for Naomi are proved correct when he finds out that her
daughter Sally has been kidnapped. It quickly becomes clear that Willard is
after something far more lucrative than money. Dominic allows the police to
become involved but they underestimate the intelligence of the kidnappers,
with shocking results. Dominic also has his own family crisis when Tess
leaves home but he has little time to put things right. Willard will only deal with
Dominic so he decides to go it alone to get Sally back. But can he get hold of
what they’re demanding? Who exactly is Willard working with? And at the
handover, can Dominic really let him go?
When Naomi Shaffer is kidnapped in South Africa on business, Dominic King,
a ransom negotiator, is responsible for bringing her home. Successfully
negotiating a ransom figure, Dominic flies to Cape Town but at the handover
things go horribly wrong. With Naomi still a hostage, the stakes are raised as
Dominic must up his game to negotiate with the mysterious Willard. After
tough negotiations Naomi is released but back in England Dominic’s instinct
to keep an eye on her is proved right when the kidnappers strike again. He
finds out that Naomi’s daughter has been kidnapped and allows the police to
become involved. But with the discovery that Willard is after something more
lucrative than money, he decides to go it alone to bring the child home.
DOMINIC KING.................................................................................... Trevor Eve
ANGELA BEDDOES ...................................................................Helen Baxendale
ALEXANDER WILLARD .................................................................. John Hannah
CARRIE HEATH ............................................................................... Amara Karan
NAOMI SHAFFER ......................................................................... Emma Fielding
PHILIP SHAFFER ............................................................................ Patrick Baladi
JANE WICKENHAM .................................................................. Sharon Maughan
SOPHIA KING.................................................................................. Natasha Little
INSPECTOR CLIVE LANNING .................................................... Tumisho Masha
FRANK EGAN................................................................................. Scott Sparrow
SAMUEL ........................................................................................ Bandile Mbana
MIKEY......................................................................................... Damien Snyders