Bosses of BBC drama The Musketeers are planning to ramp the sex and violence up for the new series.

The first series of the swashbuckling Sunday night drama – based on the stories by Alexandre Dumas and starring Tom Burke, Luke Pasqualino, Santiago Cabrera and Howard Charles – has already proved a hit. It pulled in around six million viewers for each episode and has been sold to 78 countries around the world, including France.

But writer Adrian Hodges has told the Daily Star the show was originally written to be shown at 8pm, but ended up airing at 9pm on Sunday evenings.

So Adrian is planning to sex up the new series to take more advantage of its post-watershed time slot.

He explained: “We wouldn’t have done the first series in that way, had we been doing the whole thing as a 9pm show.

“We would have pushed the tone much further in terms of sexuality and violence.

“So for this second series, I knew we were going out at 9pm and so we have pushed it harder for this audience.”

Adrian also revealed he had to make drastic changes to his plans for the second series because Peter Capaldi – who played villain Cardinal Richelieu – quit to become the new Doctor Who.

Hustle’s Marc Warren has been signed up to play new baddie the Comte De Rochefort.

Adrian said: “Marc will be the villain and he will run through the whole series, coming in and out of the boys’ stories like The Cardinal did.”

Tom, Luke, Santiago and Howard will all return as the four musketeers, along with Maimie McCoy as sexy villain Milady. Colin Salmon is among the stars announced to be appearing in the new series.