British actress Billie Piper will star in a new London play inspired by the U.K. phone-hacking scandal.
The satirical drama, titled Great Britain, focuses on the country's press and politics, drawing inspiration from high-profile stories such as the furore over now-defunct tabloid the News of The World, as well as a public battle over politicians' expenses and the disappearance of British youngster Madeleine MCCann in 2007.
Piper plays Paige Britain, a young news editor at a tabloid struggling to increase readership.
However, the play's director, Sir Nicholas Hytner, is adamant the character is not based on Rebekah Brooks, the former editor of British newspapers The Sun and the News of the World, who was sensationally cleared of all charges relating to the phone-hacking scandal in court in London on Tuesday (24Jun14).
He says, "She (the character) is not an editor. She is not based on Rebekah Brooks. There is no character in this play that is identifiable as any living protagonist... As satire always is, it is an exaggeration and grotesque distortion of current events. But I hope it throws a critical light on current events through a fictional treatment of them."
Hytner chose to wait until the phone hacking trial was over before announcing the play, which will open on Monday (30Jun14) at the National Theatre's Lyttelton venue. It will run until 23 August (14).
Brooks walked free from court in London on Tuesday following the lengthy trial. Another former News of the World editor, Andy Coulson, was found guilty on a charge of conspiracy to intercept communications.
The jury was unable to reach a majority verdict on two further charges against Coulson on Wednesday (25Jun14) and was discharged.