As previously tipped, Joanna Lumley and Robert Lindsay will star in the belated West End premiere of James Goldman’s 1966 Broadway play The Lion in Winter, which is confirmed to run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from 15 November 2011 (previews from 4 November) to 28 January 2012, as the fourth offering in a year-long season of productions programmed and directed by Trevor Nunn.

Lumley plays the 12th-century queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Lindsay’s king Henry II, who has had her imprisoned for years. A family Christmas becomes a family at war. Henry II, not so young as he was, invites his estranged wife Eleanor of Aquitane, and his three sons, Richard, Geoffrey and John, to spend the festive season with him, his mistress Princess Alais, and her brother, the young King Philip of France. Will Henry name who is to be his successor as King of England?

The Lion in Winter was famously made into a 1968 film starring Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. It was revived on Broadway in 1999 in a production starring Hollywood’s Laurence Fishburne as Henry and Stockard Channing as Eleanor. It has never been mounted in the West End.


Robert Lindsay will play Henry II

The production will return Robert Lindsay to the Haymarket, where he last played Cyrano de Bergerac in 1992. His many other stage credits include Me and My Girl (which won him an a Olivier and a Tony), Oliver! (which won him another Olivier), The Entertainer, Richard III and, last year in the West End, Onassis.

Lumley’s most recent stage credits include The Cherry Orchard, Blithe Spirit, Hedda Gabler, The Letter and La Bete, in which she made her Broadway debut after its West End run last year. Both Lindsay and Lumley are best known to TV fans for their roles in long-running sitcoms, respectively My Family and Absolutely Fabulous.

Nunn’s season at the Haymarket launched in March 2011 with a revival of Terence Rattigan’s Flare Path, starring Sienna Miller and Sheridan Smith. The current production, his revival of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, is followed in the autumn by The Tempest, which stars Ralph Fiennes as the sorcerer Prospero and runs from 6 September to 29 October 2011 (previews from 27 August).