One Foot In The Grave and Merlin star Richard Wilson will be putting his grumpy alter-ego behind him to help mentor an amateur theatre group.

Judge John Deed star Martin Shaw, ex-EastEnder Jill Halfpenny and Heartbeat actress Niamh Cusack are also among the stars taking part in the Sky Arts show.

Provisionally entitled Stagestruck, the series will search for the UK’s greatest amateur theatre groups.

The celebrities, all of whom are also known for their stage work, will act as mentors for eight groups which make it through an initial round.

The winning group will perform a play at a top London West End theatre.

Each actor will help a group hone their theatrical skills in preparation for their appearance before a panel of judges, which includes actress Miriam Margolyes, producer Bill Kenwright and theatre critic Quentin Letts in the show, to be broadcast on Sky Arts next summer.

Sky Arts channel director James Hunt said: “This is an extraordinary list of mentors who are, without doubt, amongst some of the finest actors to ever tread the board.

“Each group will learn an incredible amount under their careful guidance, hopefully enough to impress the judges all the way to the final.”

As well Richard, cantankerous pensioner Victor Meldrew in One Foot In The Grave, other stars taking part as mentors include Roger Allam, Julie Graham, Paterson Joseph and Dame Harriet Walter.

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