Mapp and Lucia gets BBC makeover

Miranda Richardson/Anna Chancellor Chancellor (right) was seen recently in The Hour while Richardson is a familiar face to Blackadder fans

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Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor will take the lead roles in a new BBC One adaptation of Mapp And Lucia.

League of Gentleman star Steve Pemberton will adapt EF Benson's novels about two ladies who vie for social prestige in small-town England.

The characters were previously played by Prunella Scales and Geraldine McEwan in a Channel 4 series in 1985.

Richardson, who will play Elizabeth Mapp, said: "I cannot wait to get my teeth into Mapp, and of course, Lucia."

"I am so looking forward to a summer of hard work and I hope, great fun," said the Parade's End star.

Chancellor - whose recent TV credits include Fleming and The Hour - said she was "thrilled to be playing the glorious Lucia".

"I hope I can do justice to EF Benson's wonderful creations," she added

The comic drama, set in the 1930s, focuses on the snobberies and pretensions of life in the quaint English town of Tilling - and the rivalry which ensues between the visiting Mrs Emmeline Lucas (Lucia) and Tilling socialite Elizabeth Mapp.

Mark Gatiss as Val Denton and Steve Pemberton as Harvey Denton in The League of Gentlemen Gatiss and Pemberton (right) starred together in The League of Gentlemen

"I feel sure viewers will relish their time in Tilling, and will enjoy watching the slyly scheming Mapp take on the gloriously haughty Lucia in a dizzying round of bitter bridge parties, devious dinners and malicious musical evenings," said screenwriter Pemberton.

Pemberton - who is currently starring in BBC One drama Happy Valley - described himself as a "long-time fan" of Benson's six "deplorably funny novels".

"But be warned," he added "this is no jolly period romp. This is a series about a war. May the worst-behaved woman win."

Mark Gatiss, Pemberton's League of Gentleman co-star, will join the cast as Major Benjy in the three hour-long films. No transmission date has been announced.

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