Jonas Armstrong will star in a 90-minute drama based on the events which inspired the literary classic Moby Dick.
The Robin Hood star will appear in BBC One's The Whale, which chronicles the last voyage of The Essex which was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the southern Pacific Ocean in 1820.
The programme, which is being filmed in Malta, follows the ship's voyage through the eyes of the cabin boy Thomas Nickerson who, at 14, was the youngest member of the crew and one of only eight survivors of the shipwreck.
Before his death in 1883, Nickerson wrote a detailed account of his experiences which inspired Herman Melville to write his famous novel and will form the basis of the programme.
The film's writer Terry Cafolla said: "At the emotional heart of the drama is orphan Nickerson's coming-of-age story where he meets three powerful male role models in the captain, the first mate, and a steward. As the narrative develops his views on what makes a man switches dramatically as he sees how these role models respond under some of life's most extreme pressures."
Published in 1851, Melville's novel told of Captain Ahab and his crew on the Pequod as they tracked a ferocious whale across the ocean.