About National Treasure
Robbie Coltrane returns to TV in National Treasure, playing beloved comedian Paul Finchley. But is there a monster hiding beneath the surface?
When we first meet Paul, his career is waning although he is still fondly remembered as one half of a popular comedy double-act.
But everything changes when Paul is arrested in his home, to the horror of his wife and grandchildren, following an allegation of rape dating back to the 1990s.
“They think I’m Jimmy f****** Savile,” Paul says as he is arrested and taken in for questioning.
Starting from Paul’s arrest and following the story through to a court verdict, the drama goes behind the headlines to look at the human and emotional impact of these historical accusations.
The allegations have a devastating effect on Paul’s wife of 40 years, Marie, played by Coltrane’s Harry Potter co-star Dame Julie Walters and his troubled daughter Dee, played by Andrea Riseborough.
National Treasure is based on Operation Yewtree, the real police investigation into sexual abuse allegations made against British celebrities, most notably TV personality Jimmy Savile.
The convictions of entertainers Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris were part of the same investigation.
But does ‘innocent until proven guilty’ still apply to celebrities when their alleged crimes are being leaked to the media? Coltrane says the series explores this “real moral dilemma”.
“The power of drama is that you can deal with these things in a way that the judiciary, the police, Parliament and these people can’t or seem unable to,” Coltrane says. “I thought it was an important thing to do to be honest.”