Snooker rivalry film The Rack Pack first comedy drama feature for BBC iPlayer
The Rack Pack, starring Fortitude's Luke Treadaway and Will Merrick from Skins, will be BBC iPlayer's first comedy drama feature film.
The film, to be released exclusively on the streaming platform in December, depicts the rivalry between late Northern Irish snooker legend Alex "Hurricane" Higgins (Treadaway) and London-born Steve "The Nugget" Davis (Merrick).
The cast is rounded out by Kevin Bishop as Davis's manager Barry Hearn, who guided the younger man to a position of dominance within snooker throughout the 1980s.
Downton Abbey's Nichola Burley play s Higgins's wife Lynn and fellow Downton star James Bailey is taking on the role of Jimmy White, said to be the greatest player never to be world champion.
Described as a "rip-roaring romp" through the snooker scene, it is a n affectionate look at a nostalgic period of this very British sport.
V ictoria Jaye, BBC iPlayer's head of TV content, said: "Snooker is a much-loved British sport and The Rack Pack celebrates its glory days in the 1970s and 1980s in a thrilling and brilliantly written story which will be the centre piece of our film offer over the Christmas period."
Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning, said: "Higgins was to snooker what George Best was to football - a Northern Irish folk hero whose mesmerising talent made for a fascinating world-class champion on the snooker table, but his explosive personality made for a troubled life off the table. Our cast are perfect to do this vibrant story and era justice."
Peter Holmes, managing director of The Rack Pack's production company Zeppotron said: "I am a huge fan of snooker and this golden era of the sport is in my blood. If you only watch one film featuring Big Bill Werbeniuk this year, make sure it's this one."
The Rack Pack is directed by Black Mirror's Brian Welsh and written by Shaun Pye, Mark Chappell and Alan Connor, the team behind A Young Doctor's Notebook.