Bond girl Gemma Arterton has signed up to play the lead role in a BBC TV adaptation of Tess Of The D’Urbervilles.

The 22-year-old actress landed the role of Agent Fields in the latest Bond film, Quantum Of Solace, just six months after graduating from Rada.

Her previous film role was as head girl Kelly in the remake of St Trinian’s.

The BBC confirmed that Arterton, an unknown a year ago, has signed up to play the tragic heroine in the adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s 19th century work.

Jodie Whittaker, who starred in the film Venus opposite Peter O’Toole, will play Izzy, while Gavin And Stacey star Ruth Jones is Tess’s mother Joan.

The rest of the cast include Hans Matheson as the milkmaid’s seducer Alec, Eddie Redmayne as Angel, and Anna Massey as Mrs D’Urberville.

Hardy’s novel was serialised in 1891 in censored form, because of its challenge to sexual attitudes of the day.

Executive producer Kate Harwood said: “Arguably Thomas Hardy is the most neglected of our great literary authors…

“Hardy’s novel explores love, betrayal and the emotional burden of secrets locked away at the heart of a passionate, loving relationship which, when unlocked, implode with heart-breaking consequences. David Nicholls’ adaptation brings Hardy’s tragic heroine, Tess, to life with verve, passion and sensitivity.”

Filming begins later this month in the West Country and the drama will be broadcast in the autumn on BBC One.