Shameless star David Threlfall to play Noah

image copyrightChannel 4
image captionShameless ran for 11 series on Channel 4, with Threlfall as feckless patriarch Frank Gallagher

Actor David Threlfall, best known as the drug-addled wastrel Frank Gallagher in Channel 4's Shameless, is to play Noah in a new BBC drama.

The 60-year-old started filming The Ark in Morocco this week.

Threlfall, who recently starred as comedian Tommy Cooper in an ITV biopic, will be joined by Jamaica Inn's Joanne Whalley, playing Noah's wife, Emmie.

Following shortly after Russell Crowe's film version, the BBC's Noah was penned by EastEnders writer Tony Jordan.

Jordan's other credits include Hustle and Life on Mars, both of which he co-created, and a critically-acclaimed version of the Nativity story, broadcast last Christmas.

Threlfall said the writer's take on the Biblical flood story "jumped off the page at me from the first reading".

"It's not just a family saga but the first family saga," he continued.

"It takes its inspiration from many faiths and speaks of values which should be shared across all cultures. It was something I immediately wanted to be part of."

image copyrightParamount Pictures
image captionRussell Crowe and Darren Aranofsky's blockbuster retelling of Noah has made $320m (£190m)
image captionThrelfall's credits include Scum, Shameless, Hot Fuzz, Hamlet and What Remains (pictured)

Production company Red Planet pictures said the drama would focus on Noah's attempts to build an ark to save humanity, and every animal species on earth, from a devastating flood.

"Noah risks ridicule and humiliation from the degenerate townsfolk as well as his loving but exasperated family, in his quest to carry out his God-given task," the synopsis continued.

The Ark will be a one-off special, with no transmission date confirmed as of yet.

Other cast members include Ashley Walters, Emily Bevan, Hannah John-Kamen, Georgina Campbell, Ian Smith, Michael Fox and Andrew Hawley.

Shameless, Channel 4's long-running drama about the feckless, work-shy Gallagher family, ended last year after 11 series. It has also spawned a successful US transfer, starring William H Macy.

Threlfall, who has played characters ranging from Prince Charles to Macbeth, went on to star in BBC police drama What Remains.

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