The 19th century novel The Diary of a Nobody, described by Evelyn Waugh as "the funniest book the world" is to be adapted for television.
George and Weedon Grossmith's novel, centring on the misfortunes of Charles Pooter, a self-delusional city clerk with lofty social aspirations, is to be screened by BBC4 as part of its Edwardian series in the Spring.
Hugh Bonneville, who featured in the film Notting Hill and starred in BBC2's Tsunami, is to star as Pooter in the four-part adaptation. "We all know a Pooter: scrupulous, fussy, industrious, big of heart, noble in intent and destined for mediocrity. I adore him. He's every inch an Englishman," the actor said.
The novel was published in 1892 after appearing in weekly extracts in Punch magazine. As Pooter tries to impress those further up the social ladder, he encounters various social mishaps which he records in his diaries.
Since its first publication, The Diary of a Nobody has never been out of print.
In one of his entries, Pooter reasons with himself as to why his writing is worthy of a wider audience: "Why should I not publish my diary? I have often seen reminiscences of people I have never even heard of, and I fail to see - because I do not happen to be a 'Somebody' - why my diary should not be interesting."
Andrew Davies, the dramatist who brought Bleak House to the screen recently, is to adapt it. Mr Davies said comedy characters such as Victor Meldrew and David Brent all shared Pooter's "inimitable aptitude for putting his foot in it". "I'm really looking forward to bringing the character to the nation's living rooms - but only the ones with antimacassars on the armchairs, obviously," he said. "It's been delightful to spend a few months in the company of Mr Pooter, who has long been one of my favourite characters in literature - The Diary of a Nobody is as fresh and funny as it was when it first appeared in the 1890s."
Clerkenwell Films, the production company founded by the actor John Hannah, is to produce the adaptation, which is to be begin filming in January.Susanna White, who directed BBC1's adaptation of Jane Eyre, will direct.