Brian Cox is to star in BBC1's new drama The Game as a paranoid head of MI5 known as Daddy who assembles a secret committee when a defecting KGB agent reveals the existence of a Soviet plot codenamed Operation Glass.
The upcoming spy thriller created by Toby Whithouse, the man behind BBC3 supernatural drama Being Human, will see Cox's character summon a team of his most trustworthy colleagues to uncover the secret task given to Soviet sleeper agents across the UK. He will be joined by Tom Hughes (Dancing on the Edge), as troubled but brilliant interrogator Joe Lambe, able to read every nuance of the human nature while concealing dark secrets of his own.
"Joe is the type of character that you come across very rarely – on the surface one person, but inside someone entirely different," said Hughes. "He's running away from himself. It is those parts that always attract me, the ones that don't just tick a box, they challenge."
"The rich character-driven storylines were a real draw, and really capture the intense feeling of the cold war period," added Cox.
Shaun Dooley (Misfits) will appear as Jim Fenchurch – a sceptical Special Branch detective – while Paul Ritter (Friday Night Dinner) will play Bobby Waterhouse, the louche and ambitious head of counter-espionage. Victoria Hamilton (What Remains) features as his dry-witted, fiercely intelligent deputy along with her cheerful husband, Alan (Sherlock's Jonathan Aris) who brings his expertise in bugging and interception. Completing the cast are Chloe Pirrie (Black Mirror) as Wendy Straw, the committee's naive and impressionable secretary, and Call the Midwife's Judy Parfitt.
Each episode will see the team investigating a new name on the list of sleeper agents in the hope of bringing them a step closer to understanding the nature of Operation Glass.
"These are some of the finest actors working in television today," said Whithouse, "and it's an honour to have them on our show. Our ambition was to create a thrilling mystery, with exciting and complex characters."
Senior executive producer at BBC, Hilary Salmon, added, "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to join the team on this classy BBC Wales production. The Cold War, Toby Whithouse scripts and Niall MacCormick directing are an irresistible combination."