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Friday, 29 June, 2001, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Forsyte Saga role for Gruffudd

Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd has landed the star role in a remake of the 1960s classic The Forsyte Saga.

Cardiff-born Gruffudd, famous for his role as ITV's Hornblower and his cameo role in the blockbuster Titanic, will feature in a lavish ITV remake of the drama.

The re-creation of John Galsworthy's classic tale of love and treachery will also star Rupert Graves, Gina McKee and Butterflies actress Wendy Craig.

Gruffudd, who earlier this week was named America's third most eligible bachelor in an online poll for People magazine, will play Bosinney.

Ioan Gruffudd
Hornblower: Gruffudd's familiar role
Damian Lewis will play Soames, the role played in the 1960s' original by Eric Porter. McKee his long suffering wife Irene.

The Forsyte Saga was screened originally in black and white by the BBC in 1967, the forerunner of the corporation's many hugely successful costume dramas.

The original starred Kenneth More and Nyree Dawn Porter, and Eric Porter.

Over 26 episodes, millions tuned into the popular series which charted the ups and downs of the aristocratic Forsyte family at the turn of the 20th century.

Production of the new ITV version is due to begin early next month in Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool, Wakefield and Cheshire.

Granada's award winning producer Sita Williams, who will oversee production, said it was a "fascinating and brillinat project".

"The Forsyte Saga is a passionate narrative with a special place in English fiction.

Kenneth More
Kenneth More starred in the original Forsyte Saga
"We aim to capture the spirit of Galsworthy's intimate portraits and his imaginative development of plotlines.

Earlier this week Gruffudd swept aside George Clooney and Russell Crowe after being voted America's third most-eligible bachelor.

The online poll in People magazine placed the Welsh actor ahead of Tom Cruise and Ben Affleck - star of Pearl Harbour.

Last year he starred alongside Glenn Close and Alice Evans in Disney's Christmas blockbuster 102 Dalmatians.

In the past, Gruffudd has also expressed his interest in playing another screen legend James Bond.

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See also:

05 Dec 00 | Wales
A dog's life for Ioan
15 May 00 | Wales
I'd tackle Bond, says Ioan
22 Jan 00 | Wales
Ioan Gruffudd - the early years
23 Sep 98 | Entertainment
Costume battle goes to sea
11 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Forsyte Saga actress dies
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