Eddie Izzard will star in a new children’s drama this Christmas, the BBC has announced.

The comedian and actor – who is currently on a mammoth 1,000-mile run around the UK for the Sport Relief charity – will play an enigmatic character with the power to find the lost, who appears on the snowy streets of Manchester one Christmas Eve.

The Lost Christmas, commissioned by BBC One and CBBC, will be written and directed by John Hay, and will also star Jason Flemyng.

Jason said: “The story came off the page for me, somehow uplifting and very poignant at the same time. It just reminded me of all those Christmas films I used to sit down in front of a fire and watch as a kid.”

Richard Deverell, controller of BBC Children’s, said: “The Lost Christmas promises to be a magical and feel-good family film, but which is built around the ordinary hardships and hurdles many families face.”