Love is a drug

A bittersweet tale of Hollywood’s most glamorous couple.

When Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton met on the set of Cleopatra, the attraction was immediate. The public were enthralled by their illicit romance, two tempestuous marriages, frequent break-ups and extravagant reunions. They were the original fabulous stars, conspicuous in their consumption of clothes, houses, yachts, diamonds, and, more damagingly, alcohol.

Years later, during their stage tour of Noel Coward's play Private Lives, public speculation grew about the possibility of another marriage, but in private old frictions played out once again.

Beyond the alcohol, pills and the trappings of fame, was love the ultimate crutch that allowed them to escape the realities of their extraordinary lives?

Tempestuous, funny, glamorous and dripping with diamonds, this is the story of the world's first celebrity ‘it’ couple.

Meet the cast


Richard Burton

Played by Dominic West

Born Dominic Gerard Fe West in Yorkshire in 1969, Dominic rose to global acting prominence portraying Detective Jimmy McNulty in the hit HBO series The Wire between 2002-2008.

He has since gained thespian kudos for his chilling portrayal of notorious British serial killer Fred West in ITV’s two-part film Appropriate Adult. Even Fred West’s daughter applauded his performance of her late father, stating that Dominic nailed the "evil essence of him – his character, his mannerisms, even his gait”.

Dominic is father to four children, and enjoys spending time with his family. In fact, he recently turned down the part of Mance Raydar in the smash hit HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones simply because he didn’t want to spend too much time from his wife and children.

Burton and Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Played by Helena Bonham Carter

Born in London in 1966 to a psychotherapist mother and merchant banker father, Helena remarkably never underwent any formal acting training.

She made her cinematic debut as Lady Jane Grey in Lady Jane (1985), and went onto to give noted film performances in Hamlet (1990), Howard’s End (1992), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994) and Twelfth Night (1996).

In 2001, she starred in the prolific film remake of Planet of the Apes, directed by Tim Burton. Helena and Tim became romantically involved during the making of the movie, and have since parented two children together. The couple have also worked together on Burton’s cinematic remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) starring Johnny Depp, Helena lent her voice to the title character of Burton's dark animated tale Corpse Bride (2005), and Helena reunited with Johnny Depp to star in Burton’s acclaimed Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).

Helena is also famed for her portrayal of Bellatrix Lestrange in the blockbusting series of Harry Potter films.

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