Alex Hassell gets slapped in the face in teaser trailer for Rivals TV adaptation

British actor Alex Hassell gets slapped in the face in the action-packed teaser trailer for the upcoming TV adaptation of Dame Jilly Cooper’s Rivals novel.

The short clip posted on Wednesday sees The Boys star step into the role of Rupert Campbell-Black, a former Olympian, MP and womaniser who has a long-standing rivalry with Lord Tony Baddingham, played by Scottish actor David Tennant.

Published in 1988, Rivals is part of Dame Jilly’s Rutshire Chronicles series and has been adapted into an eight-part series of the same name, debuting on streaming platforms later this year.

Set against the backdrop of the drama and shocking antics of the power-grabbing social elite of 1980s England, the story delves into the cutthroat world of independent British television in 1986.

It also follows the tension between Campbell-Black and Baddingham, two of fictional Rutshire county’s most powerful men, as it is on the cusp of boiling over.

As the rivalry intensifies, secrets, alliances and snatched liaisons see wives, lovers, colleagues, friends and families drawn into their battle.

The first look teaser opens with an aerial shot of a helicopter flying over fields as Tennant’s voiceover says: “This is going to be marvellous.”

The Doctor Who star is seen donning tweed, a flat cap and sunglasses as he takes on the character of Baddingham, controller of the independent Corinium Television franchise.

Another clip sees Tennant in a smart suit standing in a doorway with his hand on his hip as Lady Monica Baddingham, played by Sherwood’s Claire Rushbrook, bangs a gong in front of him.

David Tennant as Lord Tony Baddingham in the upcoming Disney+ adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s Rivals (Disney+/PA)
David Tennant as Lord Tony Baddingham in the upcoming Disney+ adaptation of Jilly Cooper’s Rivals (Disney+/PA)

The teaser also shows Hassell sauntering on to a plane and winking at a woman as he plays the notorious lothario Campbell-Black.

Later on, Campbell-Black is shown being slapped while at a garden party being held in a stately home.

Poldark star Aidan Turner can also be seen in the trailer with a moustache and in a black suit as he takes on the role of TV presenter Declan O’Hara, as well as Sex Education’s Bella Maclean, who will play Taggie O’Hara, the daughter of Declan and Maud O’Hara, played by Victoria Smurfit.

US actress Nafessa Williams, who plays American TV executive Cameron Cook, and the IT Crowd’s Katherine Parkinson, who portrays romantic novelist Lizzie Vereker, also make appearances.

Emily Atack and Oliver Chris as Sarah Stratton and James Vereker (Disney+/PA)
Emily Atack and Oliver Chris as Sarah Stratton and James Vereker (Disney+/PA)

A host of other characters has also been unveiled including Sarah Stratton, who will be played by The Inbetweeners star Emily Atack and Taggie O’Hara’s sister Caitlin, who is being portrayed by Pistol’s Catriona Chandler.

EastEnders star Danny Dyer will take on the role of Freddie Jones, The Crown actor Oliver Chris will play James Vereker and W1A star Rufus Jones will be Paul Stratton.

Meanwhile, Maternal actress Lisa McGrillis will play Valerie Jones and Skins actor Luke Pasqualino will portray Bas Baddingham.

Rivals will debut on streaming service Hulu in the US and on Disney+ in other countries later this year.