Handcuffed and doomed: Lucy Boynton as Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain
By Jo Macfarlane
dmg media (UK)
Tv Picture Exclusive
WITH her bleached, coiffured hair, bright red lipstick and immaculate wool suit, this is rising star Lucy Boynton in her most dramatic role to date – as the final woman in Britain to be sent to the gallows. Our exclusive pictures show for the first time Boynton as Ruth Ellis, who was executed aged just 28 in 1955 after killing her lover, racing driver David Blakely. She is seen in scenes filmed last week recreating the moment Ellis, flanked by two police officers, was brought before magistrates after being charged with the murder. Days earlier she had shot Blakely repeatedly outside the Magdala pub in Hampstead, North London with one bullet ricocheting off the pavement and injuring a passer-by. Boynton, 29, who appeared as Freddie Mercury’s former fiancee in Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, is seen dressed as the killer as she descends the court steps and is led into a waiting police van. She also appears to have captured perfectly the calm composure that Ellis became known for during her trial. It is understood Boynton will portray Ellis as a victim of physical abuse in the provocative four-part drama penned by Call The Midwife and Baptiste scriptwriter Kelly Jones for ITV. Former nude model and escort Ellis had been introduced to Blakely by Formula 1 champion Mike Hawthorn. The relationship was violent and tempestuous: she had one abortion and lost another baby to a miscarriage after Blakely, who was engaged to another woman, punched her in the stomach during an argument. The controversy around her execution is widely seen to have strengthened the campaign for abolishing capital punishment in the UK. ‘Ruth Ellis’s story is a fascinating one,’ Boynton has said. ‘Both she and this complex case have always evoked a strong reaction. With Kelly Jones’s insightful scripts, I’m looking forward to bringing a new perspective to both familiar audiences as well as those who are unaware of her mark on British history.’ Ellis shot Blakely after tracing him to the Magdala on April 10, 1955 and was arrested at the scene by an off-duty policeman. After declaring in the trial ‘It’s obvious when I shot him I intended to kill him’, she was found guilty by a jury at the Old Bailey after just 20 minutes and sentenced to death. Despite a petition calling for clemency signed by 50,000, she was hanged at Holloway Prison on July 13. The role will undoubtedly help cement Boynton as one of Britain’s leading acting talents. Her turn in 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody alongside Remi Malek as Mercury has already won her the attention of Hollywood. Boynton and Malek started dating soon after meeting on set, but their relationship is said to have has ended after he was spotted on a string of dates with The Crown’s Emma Corrin.