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Colin Firth, Rafe Spall and Armando Iannucci all sign up for BBC Films' 25th anniversary

The King's Speech

Story by Jack Foley

OSCAR winner Colin Firth, X + Y star Rafe Spall and The Thick Of It creator Armando Iannucci are all to feature in new films being made as part of BBC Films’ 25th anniversary celebrations.

Firth is to star in a film chronicling the true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and his attempt to win the first single-handed round-the-world yacht race in 1968.

It will be helmed by James Marsh, of The Theory Of Everything fame.

Spall will take the lead role of Captain Flint in a new version of Swallows and Amazons, which was last adapted for the big screen in 1974. The new project is to be set a few years later than Arthur Ransome’s novel but will remain faithful to the source material.

Iannucci, meanwhile, is adapting a new version of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield for the big screen.

Although still very much in the early stages of development, BBC Films said it would be a “fresh take” on the classic novel.

Christine Langan said: “[Iannucci] is a Dickens aficionado, so he wants it to be very authentic but it will have his own sensitivity.”

In other celebrations being held to mark BBC Films’ anniversary, BBC Two will broadcast a week of its titles, including the premieres of Great Expectations and Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, in May.

And documentaries on singer Grace Jones and ballet dancer Sergei Polunin, famous for dramatically walking out on the Royal Ballet, are also in the works.

Langan added: “We’re so proud to celebrate 25 years of flying the flag for British film. Since Anthony Minghella’s unique Truly, Madly, Deeply, BBC Films has played a vital role in finding and nurturing the British talent at the heart of so many successful films. BBC Films stands not just for great British talent, but amazing British stories.”

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