SIR Ian McKellen is has landed a new BBC role.
The actor, who grew up in Wigan, has been reported to be cast in a screen adaptation of the play The Dresser, alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Sir Ian will play the supportive dresser who rouses and inspires the flailing Shakespearean actor, ‘Sir,’ to be played by Sir Anthony.
Based on a screenplay by Ronald Harwood, The Dresser tells the story of an aging actor’s personal assistant, who struggles to keep his charge’s life together.
A source told The Telegraph: “This is our emphatic answer to all those people who say that the BBC is no longer interested in serious drama.
“The negotiations between the key players have taken some time, but now it’s a done deal. We are absolutely thrilled.”
BBC has yet to make an official announcement on the casting.
This new project will be a reunion for Sirs Ian and Anthony who were both members of Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre Company in the sixties.
Sir Ian lost out to the Silence of the Lambs star for a role in Mission Impossible II with Tom Cruise and he is fond of noting that he is “cheaper” to hire.
Meanwhile the Lord of the Rings star will be dusting off his poetry books as he takes part in a 36-hour Dylan Thomas marathon to mark the centenary of the poet’s birth at the end of this month.
He will be reading Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night at Swansea’s Grand Theatre in the final three hours leading up to 11pm on Monday 27 October - the moment Thomas was born in 1914.
Prince Charles will conclude the festival.