Dominic West to star in true account of miracle drug developer

Julianne Moore and Dominic West in The Forgotten
Julianne Moore and Dominic West in The Forgotten

Dominic West (The Wire, The Devil’s Whore, The Forgotten) will star as straight-talking Australian scientist Professor Howard Florey in Breaking The Mould for BBC Four, it was announced yesterday.

It is widely recognized that Alexander Fleming was the man who discovered penicillin but the truth is a bit more complicated than that – and the extraordinary story of Professor Florey is little-known.

Set against the background of the early years of the Second World War, this fact-based drama shows how it was Professor Florey and his team who persevered against incredible odds to make penicillin an applicable medicine, while refusing to patent it for commercial gain. Expect to be a poignant and character-driven account of a miraculous scientific breakthrough, Breaking The Mould tells the little-known story of Professor Florey and the team of unsung heroes from the prestigious Dunn School of Pathology at Oxford University, who were behind the discovery of penicillin, a medicine that changed the world of health care forever.

Dominic West said, “It’s great to be working with BBC Drama on such a brilliant script. The story of Florey seems little known in the UK but in Australia, he is considered one of their greatest heroes and therefore it is wonderful to be playing him.”

Joe Armstrong (Robin Hood) will play Norman Heatley, the most junior member of Florey’s team. John Sessions (Margaret, Oliver Twist) will play Alexander Fleming, who first discovered penicillin in 1928.

The drama was written by Kate Brooke (Joanne Lees: Murder In The Outback), and will began shooting last week in London.

The director is Peter Hoar and the producer is Pier Wilkie. Executive Producers are Michael Mosley and John Yorke.