QUICKSILVER GodfreyKneller-IsaacNewton-1689

One hour period TV drama series about Isaac Newton’s time as Warden of the Royal Mint.

“Breaking Bad meets The Wire in 17th century London.”

Season Logline:

1696: Fleeing heartbreak, breakdown and scandal, Isaac Newton arrives in London to join the Royal Mint. There he must complete the Great Recoinage and catch and prosecute the counterfeiter and master criminal William Chaloner to save the British economy.

Episode One:

On joining the Royal Mint, and with all existing coins illegal tender in five days, Newton has to take control of the Great Recoinage from corrupt bureaucrats and ensure it produces enough new coin to maintain the economy. However, the theft of a dye means the new coins can now be counterfeited, so Newton has to find the culprit before this news destroys all confidence in the endeavour.

SEASON ONE: Isaac Newton, Spymaster (1696-1699).

Chaloner, though guilty, manages to refute Newton’s accusations of stealing the dyes. Newton, furious at being bested, attacks Chaloner from the shadows – creating a network of informers and spies aimed at catching the criminal mastermind. Meanwhile, Chaloner openly attacks Newton in the press and parliament, exploiting Newton’s weakness – exposure to public life. Their vendetta grows into obsession for both of them, until Newton, using Chaloner’s tactics, brings Chaloner to court. There he has to overcome his internal demons to publicly prosecute Chaloner of high treason.


Isaac Newton discovered gravity, created calculus, defined light and founded the science of physics. He was also a deeply troubled man, traumatised by being abandoned as a child and constantly at war with his own homosexuality. These problems – along with a doomed love affair – led to nervous breakdowns with Newton self-medicating as a result. The mercury he put in his medication slowly drove him mad, so he spent his last years obsessing over alchemy and theology in a sea of paranoia and delusion. We meet him at the beginning of this descent into madness, as he tries to control his panic attacks with his medication while failing to forgive himself for falling in love with another man.

William Chaloner is the other side of the coin to Newton – a sexual predator, confident, charming, amoral, he loves chaos and his ability to improvise his way out of it. One of the few who can match Newton’s intellect, he runs a number of scams concurrently, constantly blindsiding the scientist with his inventive schemes. He’s driven by his lust for power and his contempt of the establishment.

Catherine Barton: Newton’s niece is the only one he trusts; she helps Newton interact with society.

Lord Montague: Newton’s friend, superior and advocate in Westminster soon seduces Catherine.

Christopher Ellis: Newton’s warrant officer, he knows the streets of London and falls for Catherine.

FURTHER SEASONS: This series as a whole shows the emergence of the new, rational world of the enlightenment through the lens of scientific genius Isaac Newton as he slowly descends into a self-induced, obsessive madness. We take in Wren’s rebuilding of London, Newton’s battles with his scientific rivals – Leibnitz, Hooke, and more, ending with Newton introducing the gold standard to the English economy and soon after losing his money in the first economic crash, the South Sea bubble, the victim of a system he helped create. Finally, Newton dies lonely and poor, leaving behind a legacy that will change the world.