Benedict Cumberbatch will star in and produce a new BBC adaptation of Ian McEwan’s award-winning 1987 novel The Child In Time.
The Sherlock star will play Stephen Lewis, a successful writer of children’s books who loses his child, in the exploration of a marriage in the wake of a tragedy which won Ian the Whitbread Novel Award.
The one-off 90-minute programme will be the first drama produced by Benedict’s production company SunnyMarch TV and will be adapted by Stephen Butchard and directed by Julian Farino.
Benedict, who previously starred in the big-screen adaptation of Ian’s book Atonement, said: “I read the novel years ago and it stayed with me – profound, beautiful and very moving.
“Only Ian McEwan could write about loss with such telling honesty.
“We’re very excited to have Stephen Butchard’s subtle and brilliant adaptation, and in Julian Farino we have an extraordinary director who delivers emotional truth.
“I’m so proud The Child In Time will be the first drama produced by SunnyMarch TV.”
Ian added: “I’m thrilled to have my novel in the hands of such a high-level creative team.
“I have fond memories of Benedict playing a brilliant and key part in the movie adaptation of Atonement.
“Now, it’s a great honour to have this actor of such immense resource, experience and subtlety in the lead role of The Child In Time.”
The show will be produced by SunnyMarch TV and Pinewood Television and co-produced by Masterpiece.
Piers Wenger, controller of BBC drama commissioning, said: “The Child In Time is a unique and moving story and one which I think will touch the heart of every BBC One viewer.
“I’m proud to be involved with both Pinewood Television and SunnyMarch TV’s first television commission, and to welcome Benedict back again to BBC One.”