Ben Hardy, who swapped Walford for Hollywood, is to star in BBC1's new Victorian thriller The Woman in White

Wilkie Collins’ Victorian thriller The Woman In White is being adapted for BBC One with X-Men actor Ben Hardy in the lead role.

Ben, who previously starred in EastEnders as Peter Beale, will play central character Walter Hartright in the chilling tale from 1859 about a drawing teacher who is caught up in a conspiracy involving two half-sisters and a family mystery.

Taboo and War & Peace actress Jessie Buckley will play Marian Halcombe, who helps Walter to try to unravel the strange events in her family that involve a swapped identity and a Victorian insane asylum.

Ben Hardy
Ben Hardy will star in the adaptation (Ian West/PA)

 

The period drama will also star Charles Dance, Dougray Scott, Art Malik, The Thick Of It’s Joanna Scanlon, Apple Tree Yard actress Olivia Vinall, Getting On’s Vicki Pepperdine and Effie Gray actor Riccardo Scamarcio.

Ben said: “I have always admired and been a fan of the BBC’s period dramas and I’m so thrilled to be playing the leading role of Walter in this classic story.”

Jessie said: “It’s really exciting to be playing a woman like Marion who has such a strength and rooted integrity.

Jessie Buckley
Jessie is adding another period drama to her CV (Ian West/PA)

 

“In the midst of this Victorian male-puppeteered world where suspense, interrogation and speculative intoxication is what drives this story forward, you find Marion, who is undefined by her sex and undefined by her society.

“She is the Janis Joplin of her time and I can’t wait to learn from this wonderful woman.”

The Woman In White, which was one of the earliest examples of a psychological thriller and was Collins’ fifth novel, will be adapted into five hour-long episodes and has begun filming for 13 weeks around Belfast.

An air date for the series on BBC1 is yet to be announced.