The remarkable connections between Alexander Litvinenko’s widow and the actress playing her: Star in ITVX drama is the stepdaughter of lawyer who acted for the family – and lived on the same street as murdered Russian spy

  • Margartia Levieva is playing Marina Litvinenko in an upcoming ITVX drama
  • David Tennant plays Alexander Litvinenko, who died from radioactive poisoning
  • His widow Marina said she was shocked by her connections to actress Marina 

She plays the widow of poisoning victim Alexander Litvinenko in the eagerly-awaited new drama.

And in real life Russian-born actresses Margarita Levieva and Marina Litvinenko have a number of remarkable connections.

Miss Levieva, 42, stars alongside David Tennant as the former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and the KGB and prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin who died in November 2006 after unknowingly drinking a radioactive substance.

Mrs Litvinenko said she was shocked by the number of ‘interesting connections’ she shares with the actress who is portraying her life on screen.

Margarita Levieva, 42, stars alongside David Tennant as Alexander Litvinenko, the former officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and the KGB and prominent critic of President Vladimir Putin

In real life Russian-born actresses Margarita Levieva and Marina Litvinenko (pictured) have a number of remarkable connections

In real life Russian-born actresses Margarita Levieva and Marina Litvinenko (pictured) have a number of remarkable connections

‘Margarita’s step father was a lawyer who met our family in 2000 in Ankara when we decided America will be a safe place to go,’ she said after a screening of the upcoming ITV drama.

‘We went to the American embassy and we need a lawyer and this lawyer was presented by Alex’s godfather, and it was the stepfather of Margarita.

She continued: ‘When Alex’s godfather told me about Margarita as an actress in the United States it was not again as any idea to play in this show, he just told me about her as a step daughter of this lawyer and she’s an actress.

‘And then suddenly before [we] started this whole casting, Alex’s godfather called me from the United States and said Margarita is asking for an audition. I was like ‘oh my god’. Complete shock.

‘And when we met for the first time and agreed for this meeting I said ‘ok I will come to pick you up from your address, what’s your address’… and I was shocked again because it was our first address in London. The same street, not the same house number. It was unbelievable.’ 

Miss Levieva was born in the former Leningrad, now St. Petersburg, where she trained as a child with the Russian Rhythmic Gymnastics team.

Alexander Litvinenko is pictured at the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital on November 20, 2006 in London

Alexander Litvinenko is pictured at the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital on November 20, 2006 in London

David Tennant as Alexander Litviinenko in the upcoming ITVX drama, which will air on December 15

David Tennant as Alexander Litviinenko in the upcoming ITVX drama, which will air on December 15

She moved to the US with her mother Irina and twin brother Michael, aged 11.

The actress, who has starred in Adventureland and TV series In from the Cold, also studied Economics at university like Mrs Litvinenko, with both opting for careers in the arts.

ITV’s new four-part series will document the final days of Mr Litvinenko’s life in University College Hospital, London, in which he accused Putin of being behind the shocking political assassination.

It will follow his widow’s plight for justice and the police officers who investigated the murder.

Scotland Yard officers Clive Timmons and Brent Hyatt, played by Mark Bonnar and Neil Maskell respectively, helped the production.

A UK public inquiry which concluded in 2016 found Russians Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi had deliberately poisoned Mr Litvinenko by spiking his tea at the Millennium Hotel, Mayfair, with Polonium-210.

Litvinenko airs on ITVX on December 15.

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