What Happened to Netflix’s ‘White Stork / Spadehead’ Series with Tom Hiddleston?

The project looks to be in permanent limbo.

Tigran Asatryan What's on Netflix Avatar

Tom Hiddleston Netflix Series White Stork Spadehead

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

After numerous production delays, the upcoming political thriller White Stork (also known as Spadehead) has been left in limbo. Chris Dunlop wrote and created the 10-part limited series which was supposed to be helmed by Tom Hiddleston. Eleven Film, the company behind Sex Education, was set to produce it, but the project looks like it’s not moving forward anytime soon. 

First reported in February 2020, White Stork was set to be directed by Kristoffer Nyholm, who helmed episodes for such series as Taboo starring Tom Hardy, the popular Danish procedural drama The Killing, and Sky Living’s The Enfield Haunting.

Jamie Campbell, Chris Dunlop, Tom Mullens, and Joel Wilson are all listed as executive producers. ElevenFilm is the production company behind the series, which is the same team behind Netflix’s Sex Education, True Horror, and Gap Year for Hulu.

Originally titled Spadehead, the limited series has been in development for AMC since 2017. Three years later, Netflix picked up the Project and officially gave it the green light. The series was supposed to have ten one-hour episodes.


Director of White Stork, Kristoffer Nyholm (Photo credit: Emil Monty Freddie)

What is the plot of White Stork?

Netflix’s White Stork will tell the story of James Cooper, an aspiring and ambitious British politician selected to run for a seat in parliament. Asher Millan, a woman who vets political candidates, is sent to work with Cooper. Unfortunately, he quickly uncovers secrets from his past that could ruin everything – his career, marriage, life, and the influential people who back his campaign. The show is described to be a political thriller exploring the paradox of truth in a post-truth world.

Who is cast in White Stork?

Tom Hiddleston was the first and, to date, the only confirmed cast member for White Stork. Hiddleston will star in the leading role of James Cooper.

The actor won a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination for his starring role in AMC’s The Night Manager, another serious non-comic book limited series.

Tom Hiddleston with the star-studded cast of The Night Manager

The last casting rumor we heard from reliable TV and film industry insider Daniel Richtman is that The Crown‘s Claire Foy has been offered the role of Asher Millan, the woman who is supposed to vet Tom Hiddleston’s James Cooper.

What’s the production status of White Stork?

Now we come to the disappointing part of the article—why it looks like White Stork remains in purgatory.

Production was meant to begin in September 2020 but was delayed due to the global pandemic. Further production start dates in January 2021 and March 2021 were also delayed.

Then we stopped hearing anything new about the series. In the years to come, however, we’ve seen numerous people at one stage attached to the show (mostly in mid-to-late 2019) update their profiles on various websites to state they’re no longer working on the project.

Nicole Northridge, who was serving as Production Designer on the series states on her public-facing CV that “Production Paused due to Actor Availability.” Northridge has since gone onto work on multiple other projects as has all the other people attached to the show in various capacities.

Eleven has no references to White Stork beyond a mention in Simon Levy’s profile on their about us page.

The only hope left is that there is still an active page for SPADEHEAD on Netflix (ID: 80197528). Most quietly canceled projects in development have had their pages taken offline.

Unless revived down the line, it’s highly likely the show will never see the light of day.

Contains contributions from Kasey Moore and with thanks to Sylvain/@ArmosFr for the nudge and hat tip about the page still being active. 

Are you looking forward to White Stork on Netflix? Let us know in the comments.

Written by

Tigran is our resident previews writer. He works on collecting everything known about upcoming Netflix Original projects and also is editor-in-chief of Redanian Intelligence. Resides in France.