At last the mystery has been solved. Benedict Cumberbatch’s new project for BBC drama is... a trailer.
The mini film showcasing the best of the BBC's drama output over the past 80 years will air tonight [Tuesday] just before the broadcast of new James Nesbitt series The Missing.
In it the star reads William Shakespeare’s All the World’s a Stage monologue from As You Like It as the trail celebrates a variety of BBC dramas from the past, present and future.
As you no doubt know, that's the speech from the play delivered by the glum retainer Jaques which opens:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages....
As we revealed last week, Cumberbatch had been busy filming "something special" for the BBC – and this is it.
Ben Stephenson, controller BBC Drama commissioning said: "It's a privilege to premiere a new trailer tonight that celebrates BBC Drama. Who better than Benedict Cumberbatch to narrate this special film that showcases the BBC's unique role in nurturing talent and its powerful storytelling from the past, present and future."
Upcoming dramas in the trailer include: The Casual Vacancy, an adaptation of JK Rowling’s novel; Esio Trot starring Dame Judi Dench and Dustin Hoffman; The Missing, starring James Nesbitt; One Child, written by BAFTA award-winning writer Guy Hibbert and The Interceptor, written by Tony Saint starring O-T Fagbenle.
Also featured is Wolf Hall, the adaptation of Hilary Mantel's best-selling novel starring Mark Rylance, Damien Lewis and Claire Foy; Banished, Jimmy McGovern’s new eight-part series; Strange and Norrell, based on the bestselling novel by Susanna Clarke and adapted by Peter Harness; and major new eight-part series Poldark, written by Debbie Horsfield, starring Aidan Turner and Eleanor Tomlinson.
There's also a throwback to dramas from the past with footage from The Singing Detective, House of Cards, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, This Life, Pride and Prejudice, Criminal Justice, Small Island, Spooks and Life on Mars.
You can watch the trailer here from 9pm tonight. Or on BBC1 at 8:58pm. Or get a taster of what it might sound like here.