Coupling star Ben Miles has been cast as Thomas Cromwell in the Royal Shakespeare Company's double bill of Hilary Mantel's award-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
The actor, who began his career with the company, played womaniser Patrick in the hit sitcom.
The novels, which both won the Man Booker Prize, are part of a planned trilogy about Cromwell, who served as an adviser to King Henry VIII before he was executed for treason in 1540.
The books have been a critical and commercial hit and are to be filmed for a BBC drama, with Mark Rylance tipped to play Cromwell on screen.
Nathaniel Parker, who plays the title character in the Inspector Lynley Mysteries, will play the king in the stage version which opens in December.
The cast also includes Lucy Briers - the daughter of the late Richard Briers - who makes her RSC debut as Catherine of Aragon and Paul Jesson as Cardinal Wolsey.
Ms Mantel said: "It's very exciting for me to see the characters from the Cromwell novels spring to life, ready for the stage this winter. I'm delighted we have secured such gifted actors for four of the major figures in the plays, and look forward to meeting the rest of the cast in the near future."