Christopher Eccleston to play tyrant King Oedipus in new BBC radio drama

Former Doctor Who star who left the ITV drama Safe House earlier this year has been cast in a Radio 3 special to air in February

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Former Time Lord Christopher Eccleston is to play the tyrannical Athenian King Oedipus in a new BBC radio adaptation of the Sophocles classic.

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The actor said he was “honoured and proud” to take the lead role in Anthony Burgess’s “brilliant and daring” version of the tragedy airing next year.

Oedipus the King will be broadcast on the station 26 February 2017 as part of a tribute to Burgess, the writer of A Clockwork Orange who died in 1993.

The role sees Eccleston cast in the role of the incestuous King who starts the play having unwittingly killed his own father. He spends much of the play seeking to avenge the killer, unaware that the man he is looking for his none other than himself.

The casting follows Eccleston’s departure from ITV drama Safe House which prompted ITV to recast the second series and move it to a new location in the summer.

The former Doctor Who star began pre-production work on the new series but departed for reasons which ITV has said at the time were “confidential”.

The production moved from The Lake District to Wales with British actor Stephen Moyer taking on the lead role of a charismatic yet impulsive ex-police officer Tom Brook who runs a police safe house, which stands by the edge of the sea in Anglesey.

The ITV thriller first aired in April last year and saw Eccleston play former policeman Robert who was protecting a vulnerable family from a serial killer in his guest house. It was a success, averaging more than 6m viewers for each episode.

ITV had originally announced a second series including the return of stars Eccleston and co-stars Marsha Thomason and Paterson Joseph before this version was scrapped.

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Eccleston also starred as the kindly but tactless grandfather Maurice in BBC1 drama The A Word earlier this year. The Corporation has announced that the drama will be returning for a second series but has not confirmed the cast.

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