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Michael Palin to star in BBC WWI drama

Comic actor and broadcaster Michael Palin is to star in a new BBC Two drama set on the battlefields of World War I.

The Monty Python star has not appeared on-screen in an acting role for more than two decades but will feature in The Wipers Times, which is based on the true story of a satirical newspaper produced by British soldiers in Europe’s frontline trenches.

Ben Chaplin, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Emilia Fox also star in the period drama, which comes from Trademark Films with Andy de Emmony directing. Private Eye’s Ian Hislop and Nick Newman (A Bunch of Amateurs) wrote the scripts.

“Just like the original Wipers Times, this new history drama will be filled with jokes, spoofs and amazing examples of courage behind the laughs,” said BBC Two and BBC Four controller Janice Hadlow, who commissioned the series along with BBC History commissioning editor Martin Davidson.

The latter executive produces along with Ivan McTaggart for Trademark. David Parfitt is the producer.