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Beau Brummell - Superstar - is Cast

Rome star James Purefoy and Notting Hill actor Hugh Bonneville have been signed to star in BBC4's upcoming period drama Beau Brummell, part of its planned 18th century season.

Part of the digital channel's The Century That Made Us season, the one-off film will also star Phil Davis (Bleak House) and Matthew Rhys, known for his role in The Graduate in London's West End. The film's writer is award-winning scribe Simon Bent.

Beau Brummell is  Flashback Television's first period drama commission and tells the story of what BBC 4 describes as "the 18th century's most charismatic figure." The film is expected to air in June.

BBC4 exec Richard Fell and channel controller Janice Hadlow greenlit the programme. Producer is David Edgar, Flashback MD Taylor Downing is exec producer and the film, based on a new biography by Ian Kelly, is being directed by Philippa Lowthorpe.

"Beau Brummell is yet another original BBC4 drama to attract a stellar cast," said Hadlow. "It tells the intriguing story of the UK's first 'celebrity' superstar, and it, and the season as a whole, shows just how similar 18th century people were in their aspirations and pleasures to our 21st century selves."

The Century That Made Us season will also feature inhouse titles An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump, Castrato, How To Be Eighteenth Century and Princes of the East End; plus Crowded With Genius (BBC Scotland); The Butcher & The Bonnie Prince (Wall To Wall); and Hannah Glasse (Optomen TV).