Friday 28th December 2018

Stephen Mangan is to play Charles Dickens in a new Urban Myths film.

Sky Arts has today officially confirmed that the series of comic one-offs, imagining what went on during historical encounters, has been commissioned for a third series.

Mangan will appear opposite Harry Potter’s Ian Hart as Hans Christian Andersen and W1A’s Monica Dolan as Charles Dickens’ long-suffering wife, Catherine. 

Dickens and Andersen had been friends – until the Danish author visited at the British novelist’s family home in Kent in 1857.

The intended two-week stay turned into five, and drove Dickens mad. In letters auctioned last year he complained that the Little Mermaid author was a ‘bony bore’ who struggled to speak English. 

And according to one report, Andersen requested that he should be shaved by one of the older Dickens boys each morning, though that was denied.

The story of their encounter will be told in an episode entitled  Bleak House Guest. which will air on Sky Arts in the spring.

It joins the already announced Mick and Margaret, which charts Princess Margaret’s 30-year friendship with Mick Jagger. Trainspotting’s Kelly Macdonald will play the Queen's younger sister and Jamie Campbell Bower will be the Rolling Stones frontman.

Further details of series three will be announced in the new year. 

The Bleak House Guest episode was made with the National Film and Television School, with students and graduates in key creative roles including producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, designer, composer and sound designer.

The school’s director, Jon Wardle, said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Sky Arts for giving our graduates and students this opportunity to create an episode for such a high-profile series. We couldn’t give our students and graduates career-enhancing experiences without the continued support of our industry champions like Sky.’

Previous episodes of Urban Myths have starred Gemma Arterton as Marilyn Monroe, Noel Clarke as Muhammad Ali, Anna Maxwell Martin as Agatha Christie, David Suchet as Salvador Dali and Noel Fielding as Alice Cooper.

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