Christopher Eccleston is to star as music legend John Lennon in a biopic set during the turbulent demise of The Beatles.

Lennon Naked covers the period from 1967 to 1971 when tensions within the band reached a peak and the star slipped into hard drug use.

Former Doctor Who Christopher has already begun filming the 90-minute drama for BBC4.

At 45, the actor is a good 18 years older than the real Lennon would have been in 1967 and five years older than the musician at the time of his death in 1980.

Artist Sam Taylor-Wood recently interpreted the early life of the former Beatles star in her forthcoming film Nowhere Boy which is released next month.

The late 60s era saw huge upheavals in Lennon’s life as he adjusted to the death of the band’s manager Brian Epstein in 1967, and he became increasingly devoted to new partner Yoko Ono and avant garde art, while his marriage crumbled.

Writer Robert Jones examines the effect of his troubled childhood on Lennon’s later life, and the impact of re-establishing contact with his estranged father Freddie.

Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, said: “Securing Christopher Eccleston to play John Lennon is further testament to the calibre of drama on BBC4.

“The Women We Loved season currently on air is attracting record audiences and the channel is steadily building a reputation for portraying some of this country’s best loved icons.”

Torchwood actress Naoko Mori will play Yoko Ono, while Irish actor Andrew Scott stars as Paul McCartney.