Entertainment & Arts

Matthew Rhys to play Austen's Mr Darcy in new BBC drama

Matthew Rhys as John Jasper in The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Image caption Matthew Rhys, played John Jasper in the 2011 BBC adaptation The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Matthew Rhys is to follow in Colin Firth's footsteps and take on the role of Mr Darcy for the BBC.

He will play Jane Austen's much-loved character in an adaptation of PD James's Death Comes To Pemberley.

The book places the Pride and Prejudice characters Elizabeth Bennett, Fitzwilliam Darcy and George Wickham in a murder mystery.

Anna Maxwell Martin will play Bennett, while Matthew Goode takes on the role of Wickham.

Rhys, who is currently starring in US show The Americans, said he was very aware there would be comparisons with Firth's well-known performance in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

"Exciting as it is, one of the challenges of a part such as Darcy are the comparisons that will be drawn to those who've institutionalised him in the past," he said.

"The beauty of Pemberley is that it is an entirely new and different Darcy six years on," he said.

"And also, I don't have to appear from a lake in a white shirt and breeches," he added, referring to the famous scene in the BBC adaptation where Firth emerged from a lake.

Death Comes to Pemberley picks up with Elizabeth and Darcy years after their wedding, where they have two young sons and are preparing for the annual ball at their home.

The book, which was an international best-seller, has been adapted by Juliette Towhidi, the writer of Calendar Girls.

Filming will begin in June on location in Yorkshire.

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