He is best known for playing foul-mouthed loser Eddie in the slapstick comedy Bottom.

But Ade Edmondson’s latest role couldn’t be further apart from the jobless no-hoper, as he is set to star in a BBC adaptation of the Russian classic War And Peace.

Ade, 57, will star alongside Lily James, best known as Downton Abbey’s Lady Rose, and Paul Dano from There Will Be Blood, in the remake of Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece.

Ade will play Count Rostov, who accumulates debts through extravagant living and squandering the inheritance of his four children.

Lily James will play his charming and lively daughter while Greta Scacchi, who starred in the 2008 version of Brideshead Revisited, will play his countess wife.

Paul Dano will play Pierre Bezukhov, a social misfit son of a Russian grandee whose unexpected inheritance transforms his fortunes.

And James Norton, best known for his roles in Happy Valley and Grantchester, will play Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, a stern, old-fashioned recluse.

The 19th-century novel has been adapted by Andrew Davies, the Bafta-winning writer behind the adaptations of Vanity Fair and Pride And Prejudice.

He said: “When I came to War And Peace for the first time, rather late in life, I was struck by how fresh and modern the characters and relationships felt.

“It’s a story of the hopes and dreams of youth, set against the titanic background of the Napoleonic wars. Three characters at the centre: Pierre, the bumbling, chaotic idealist; Prince Andrei, whose cool Darcy-like exterior conceals huge emotional conflict; and Natasha Rostova, possibly the most appealing heroine in literature.

“These three are surrounded by a gallery of unforgettable characters – we get love, friendship, huge swings of fortune, betrayals, tragedy, and a surprising amount of comedy too.”

James said: “I’m thrilled to be entrusted with Andrei in this exciting adaptation. It’s a privilege to bring to life one of Tolstoy’s wonderfully rich and conflicted characters.”

Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, who is producing the series with the BBC, said: “I fell in love with Tolstoy’s War And Peace as a teenager when I read it for the first time. Putting an epic, iconic story like War And Peace on screen with a cast of this calibre is an incredible thrill. Lily, Paul and James are all amazingly talented actors and it takes their level of talent to capture the scale of Tolstoy’s words. We are excited to get under way with Andrew Davies and the phenomenal team at BBC.”