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Matthew Rhys is the new Mr Darcy

Matthew Rhys has been cast as Mr Darcy in a new BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice murder mystery spin-off Death Comes to Pemberley.

The Brothers and Sisters actor will star alongside Anna Maxwell Martin and Matthew Goode, as Elizabeth Bennett and George Wickham respectively, in the drama based on PD James's novel.

Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens had previously been linked to the role of Mr Darcy.

Rhys said: "Exciting as it is, one of the challenges of a part such as Darcy are the comparisons that will be drawn to those who've institutionalised him in the past.

"The beauty of Pemberley is that it is an entirely new and different Darcy six years on. And also, I don't have to appear from a lake in a white shirt and breeches!"

Death Comes to Pemberley - set six years after the events of Jane Austen's classic novel - has been adapted for the screen by Calendar Girls writer Juliette Towhidi.

A Single Man star Goode added: "I'm thrilled to be involved in this adaptation of Death Comes to Pemberley. I have long been an admirer of Jane Austen and in particular of Pride and Prejudice.

"More exciting still is the chance to work with Matthew Rhys who is not only one of the most talented actors of my generation but also the most fun."

The three part series will begin filming on location in Yorkshire next month.

Colin Firth most famously played Darcy in the BBC's 1995 adaptation of Pride And Prejudice, while Spooks star Matthew Macfadyen played him in director Joe Wright's film adaptation in 2005.

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