Benedict Cumberbatch is to take a break from sleuthing to play a part in a new Rumpole of the Bailey adaptation for BBC Radio 4.
The Sherlock star, who has lent his voice to several of the famous fictional barrister’s adventures on Radio 4 in the past, will play the Young Rumpole in Rumpole and the Man of God.
Starring Timothy West as Rumpole, the story takes place in 1959, when the cheroot-smoking lawyer is given the task of defending a clergyman accused of shoplifting who risks being defrocked if he is convicted of the crime.
In addition to West and Cumberbatch, Rumpole and the Man of God features Jasmine Hyde as Rumpole’s wife, Hilda, and Stephen Critchlow as George Frobisher.
Rumpole was created by former barrister John Mortimer, whose books about the jovial lawyer became bestsellers and spawned a long-running television series starring Leo McKern.
Rumpole and the Man of God will transmit on Radio 4 on Thursday 1 March at 2:15pm. It will be followed by a second episode, Rumpole and the Explosive Evidence, on Wednesday 2 March.