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Cumberbatch to play Richard III for BBC

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Shakespeare fans, hold on to your hats. And Sherlock fans, well, hold on to your deerstalkers.

Just days after it surfaced that Martin Freeman was primed to play Richard III in London’s West End come autumn, it’s now been revealed that his Sherlock co-star Benedict Cumberbatch will be doing likewise for the small screen.

While Freeman stars in Richard III at Trafalgar Studios as part of Trafalgar Transformed, the same series which saw James McAvoy play Macbeth in 2013, Cumberbatch will take on the iconic role for the second series of Shakespeare’s History plays on the BBC.

He should be in safe hands, too - produced by the award nominated Hollow Crown films, the show will be directed by Dominic Cooke, a former artistic director of the Royal Court theatre.

Executive producer Pippa Harris said, "Neal Street Productions worked with Benedict on both Stuart: A Life Backwards for the BBC and the film Starter for Ten. His range and dexterity as an actor make him the perfect choice to bring one of Shakespeare's towering characters to television."

Excitingly, the news also comes shortly after Cumberbatch was cast in the titular role for a forthcoming stage adaptation of Hamlet. Slated for a London date next year, it will see him join Jude Law, Tom Hiddleston and of course Freeman, as the latest in a growing list of A-list Brit actors treading the boards in the name of the Bard.

Excited for the year ahead? We don't blame you. Oh. and feel free to let go of your head-wear now.

The second series of Shakespeare’s History airs on BBC later this year

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