Ben Aldridge has been named as the male lead in ITV's major new crime drama The Long Call.
The four-part series is an adaptation of the novel of the same name from writer Ann Cleeves - also known for Vera and Shetland - and centres around the character DI Matthew Venn, who relocates to his small Devon hometown with his husband.
Aldridge, seen recently as 'Arsehole Guy' in the acclaimed comedy Fleabag, will take on the role of Venn, while Juliet Stevenson will play his mother Dorothy and Martin Shaw will play a spiritual leader named Dennis. Other confirmed cast members include Anita Dobson, Pearl Mackie, Neil Morrissey, Dylan Edwards and Amit Shaw.
"I'm delighted to be playing Matthew Venn, a brilliantly unorthodox detective who audiences will see solving a gripping and intricate case, whilst simultaneously surmounting a deeper, more personal mystery within himself," said Aldridge, who has also appeared in Our Girl, Lark Rise To Candleford and Pennyworth.
"It's a poignant and complex journey of self-discovery and sexual and religious identity, which navigates the tension between pride and shame, and I feel privileged to be bringing it to ITV viewers in The Long Call."
Cleeves added: "I can't think of anyone who could play Matthew Venn better than Ben Aldridge. He will bring an authenticity and commitment to the role.
"I always hoped that the actor chosen would come from Devon, where the books are set, and he does.
"Ben was the actor who read the audio book even before the TV show was commissioned. I love his pared-back, restrained narration. He's worked on the novel as well as the script, and so he understands the character in depth. No author could wish for more."
The Long Call is due to begin filming this month and is expected to air on ITV later this year. body check tags ::