Shameless star to play Tommy Cooper in new ITV drama

Tommy Cooper and David Threlfall Cooper (L) will be played by Shameless actor Threlfall (R) in the two-hour film for ITV

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Shameless star David Threlfall has been chosen to play comedian Tommy Cooper in a new drama, ITV has announced.

The one-off film has been written by Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye.

Threlfall, who is best known for his role of layabout Frank Gallagher in the Channel 4 series, will star alongside actress Amanda Redman as his wife Gwen.

Nye's script will focus on the dilemma faced by Cooper when he fell in love with assistant Mary Kay, embarking on a relationship which lasted 17 years.

The comic magician, one of the best-known TV stars in the 70s, died after suffering a heart attack on stage, live on television, in 1984.

ITV's director of drama commissioning, Steve November, said it felt "fitting" to tell Cooper's story on ITV.

The film, produced by Left Bank Pictures, will explore how Cooper became torn between two equally devoted women, Kay and his wife, whom he nicknamed Dove.

Andy Harries, chief executive of Left Bank Pictures, said: "Few comics have had such a lasting influence on UK culture as Tommy Cooper".

Former London Weekend Television producer and award-winning magician John Fisher, who was a friend of Cooper and the author of his biography, will work as a consultant on the film.

The casting of Mary is yet to be confirmed.

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