From Lord Grantham, master of Downton Abbey, to Mr Stink, a smelly tramp hiding out in a garden shed – Hugh Bonneville appears to be going down in the world.
The actor has signed up to play the title role in a BBC1 adaptation of David Walliams’s children’s book about a malodorous vagrant who befriends a lonely 12-year-old girl named Chloe.
“I’m delighted to be adding my own whiff to the odour that emanates from David Walliams… and his very funny, touching and thought-provoking story,” said Bonneville.
Walliams, who will himself make an appearance, as the Prime Minister, added: “I am thrilled that Hugh is playing Mr Stink. He is one of the most popular and talented actors around, and is the perfect person to bring out the character’s humour and sadness.”
Adapted by Walliams and Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye, the 60-minute family comedy will follow Chloe as she befriends local tramp Mr Stink and invites him to hide out in her family’s garden shed.
As she struggles to ensure no-one sniffs out Mr Stink, she must also cope with her overbearing mum, who is more interested in her own political ambitions than her daughter, her put-upon dad with a secret of his own, her “perfect” younger sister Annabelle and the nasty girls who make her life miserable at school.
Of course, coming from the pen of such a warm-hearted chap as Walliams, it’s not all doom and gloom, as Chloe discovers she is not the only one harbouring a secret, and there’s more to Mr Stink than meets the eye – or nose.
Harish Patel (previously seen in Coronation Street and British comedy Run Fat Boy Run) also stars, as Chloe’s newsagent friend Raj.
Mr Stink is David Walliams’s second children’s novel and has sold 250,000 copies since it was first published in 2009. Filming on the drama begins in October with Mr Stink set to air later this year on BBC1.