Wolf Hall TV series: Damian Lewis to play Henry VIII in BBC adaptation

Damian Lewis will tackle the regal role of Henry VIII in a new BBC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies.

The Homeland actor, 43, will star opposite Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell as part of a cast that also includes Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss as Henry VIII’s faithful servant, Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey and Anton Lesser as Thomas More.

Mantel’s bestselling novels follow the rapid rise of Cromwell from poor blacksmith’s son to tough political leader

Henry VIII’s first two wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine of Aragon will have leading roles in the six-part miniseries, due to air on BBC2 in 2015. Claire Foy will play Anne and Joanne Whalley, Catherine.

Saskia Reeves, Richard Dillane and Call the Midwife's Jessica Raine are also among the cast.

Oscar-nominated Peter Straughan (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) has written the challenging script, with Peter Kosminsky signed on to direct. Filming is set to take place in Bristol and Wiltshire’s Great Chalfield Manor and Lacock Abbey.

Rylance has paid tribute to Mantel’s “detailed imagination of the world of Thomas Cromwell” and Straughan’s “ingenious and faithful adaptation”.

A Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation of Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies is playing in London at the moment, with Nathaniel Parker and Ben Miles in the roles of Henry VIII and Cromwell respectively.

Mantel is currently working on the third instalment of the trilogy, Mirror and the Light, which opens just moments after Boleyn’s beheading.

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