Jason Watkins and Victoria Hamilton, two stars of The Trick

The Trick: this new BBC thriller series is based on a fascinating true story

Posted by for TV

BBC One’s The Trick will follow the true story of Professor Phillip Jones, one of the main targets of the 2009 ‘Climategate’ affair.

As much as we love a good fantasy series set in an imagined world, there’s something about a show based on a true story that makes for great TV.

So, when we heard that the BBC’s newest film The Trick would be based on real-life events, it’s safe to say we were pretty intrigued. Although the show is still a while away from hitting screens – it’s set to start filming soon, according to the BBC – its real-life basis means we know quite a few key details about what to expect.

Here’s everything we know about BBC One’s The Trick so far.  

What is The Trick about?

The Trick will tell the story of Professor Philip Jones, the Director of Climate Research at the University of East Anglia, one of the prime targets at the heart of the 2009 ‘Climategate’ affair, which saw more than a thousand emails and computer files hacked, stolen and used by climate change deniers to argue that global warming was a scientific conspiracy and that scientists had been manipulating or hiding data.

As one of the principal targets of the hack, Jones found himself at the eye of an “international media storm” that led to an influx of online hate and threats. And it’s this experience which forms one of the central focuses of The Trick

“With time running out against an unseen enemy, The Trick looks at the potentially devastating consequences to humanity from climate change denial; how a media storm undermined public confidence in the science and how the concept of ‘truth’ took a back seat causing us to lose a decade of action,” the show’s official description reads.

“The film also charts the unjustified persecution of Phil Jones, his wife Ruth’s support of her husband and the fight for the ultimate exoneration of himself and the science.” 

Who is starring in The Trick

Victoria Hamilton
Victoria Hamilton will star as Ruth Jones.

Jason Watkins, who is known for his roles in The Crown, Line Of Duty and McDonald & Dodds, will star as Professor Phil Jones.

Victoria Hamilton, who has also appeared in The Crown as well as in recent series such as Life and Cobra, will also star as Phil’s wife, Ruth.

Other members of the cast include George MacKay (1917), Rhashan Stone (Keeping Faith), Tara Divina (Line Of Duty), Jerome Flynn (Game Of Thrones), Adrian Edmondson (The Pact), Aneirin Hughes (Keeping Faith), Pooky Quesnel (The A Word), Richard Elfyn (The Pact), Justin Salinger (Hanna) and David Calder (Time). 

What has been said about The Trick?

Speaking in a press release when the film was first announced, Watkins said it was a “privilege” to play Phil Jones.

“It is rare that a drama marries the personal and the public in such a compelling way – the urgent need to tackle the effects of the earth’s warming is not going away and the research into this project has been sobering,” he explained.  

“It is a privilege to play the brilliant scientist, Phil Jones, whose own private world was so threatened from outside and whose research and efforts have been so vital globally in combatting the effects of climate change.

“I’m delighted to be performing alongside Victoria, the whole exceptional cast and with Pip Broughton, whose singular and beautiful work I admire.”

Speaking in the same press release, Hamilton added: “This project is a call to arms in favour of the climate change cause, and I’m genuinely thrilled to be part of it.” 

When and where will The Trick be released?

We know that The Trick will be released as a one-part drama on BBC One, although it’s yet to be seen when this might be.

We’ll bring you the latest news about The Trick when we get it, so keep your eyes peeled for any updates. 

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Images: Getty

Share this article

Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.