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Sherlock's Benedict Cumberbatch to play Richard III for BBC

His Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman will tackle the same role on stage

Benedict Cumberbatch is set to play Richard III for the BBC, while his Sherlock co-star Martin Freeman prepares to tackle the same role in the West End.

The British actor, 37, will star as the infamous monarch in the second TV series of Shakespeare’s History Plays, the broadcaster confirmed in a tweet.

The new BBC adaptation will be produced by the Bafta-winning team behind The Hollow Crown, including Sam Mendes, with Dominic Cooke directing in his screen debut.

“I can’t wait to work with (director) Dominic Cooke again to bring this complex, funny and dangerous character to life,” Cumberbatch told The Telegraph.

Executive producer Pippa Harris praised Cumberbatch’s “range and dexterity as an actor” which she claimed make him “the perfect choice to bring one of Shakespeare’s towering characters to television”.

BBC’s drama controller Ben Stephenson added that he is “one of the world’s most brilliant and in-demand actors”.

The news comes just days after Freeman was announced in the title role for Jamie Lloyd's theatre production later this year.

Cumberbatch too will soon appear on the London stage, playing Hamlet at the Barbican in 2015.

Read more: Martin Freeman to play Richard III on stage
Benedict Cumberbatch to play Hamlet on stage
Sherlock might not return to BBC until 2016