Masters Of Sex: Michael Sheen set to hit British television screens as 1950s sex expert William Masters

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Channel 4 is known for broadcasting controversial documentaries about sex. But the channel is now set to showcase a "classy period drama" featuring Michael Sheen as a pioneering sex expert.

The rights to Masters Of Sex, a 12-part series which has yet to make its debut on American screens, have been eagerly snapped up by Channel 4 which promises "an unmissable treat".

The drama stars Welsh actor Sheen as gynaecologist William Masters who carried out ground-breaking research alongside partner Virginia Johnson (played by Lizzy Caplan from True Blood) into arousal and sexual behaviour from the late 1950s onwards.

The American drama has already received the Critics' Choice television award for most exciting new series - despite not even appearing on American TV screens until late September.

Sheen is best known for roles in The Queen, Frost/Nixon and the Twilight movies.

Masters Of Sex will be screened in the UK shortly after its US premiere.

Channel 4's chief creative officer Jay Hunt said: "Masters Of Sex is an incredibly classy period drama which provides a fascinating insight into the scientific study of human sexuality."

"With compelling performances from Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as Masters and Johnson, it's an unmissable treat."