Cold Feet star John Thomson has admitted he was drawn to his new period drama because it gave him a chance to move away from the "John Thomson package" and do something completely new.
John will soon be seen opposite Miranda star Sarah Hadland in a new adaptation of Wilkie Collins' mystery novel The Moonstone, which is widely believed to be the first ever detective novel.
The actor, who is best known to audiences as Pete Gifford in the ITV drama Cold Feet, will play Sergeant Cuff in the five-part BBC daytime drama.
Cuff has been coaxed out of retirement to investigate the theft of a diamond after a party at an English country house and John embraced the chance to shake off his usual image.
He said: "I don't get much chance to play outside my 'type', as it were.
"Often I'm offered roles that are similar to previous roles I've played and people want the 'John Thomson package', but Cuff is completely different to me.
"He's a proper character part. He's got a London accent, it's a period drama so he's from centuries ago, and he's a detective. You couldn't get much further from John Thomson really, and it's always a joy to be able to lose yourself in a role like that."
John embraced the period with such enthusiasm he even grew "lamb chops" sideburns but said the dialogue provided some challenges.
He added: "It's written of a period so you can't paraphrase or abbreviate any of what he's saying - even though it's your natural instinct as someone in this century.
"You've got to be true to it and you can't colloquialise the dialogue, which is quite tough. I was given some brilliant, big chunks of dialogue too - full of tongue twisters and revelations.
"As Cuff has a different accent to mine, when I first got the scripts I had to annotate all the vowel sounds to make sure it was right for me.
"If I'm being honest it was one of the more challenging jobs of my career... but I'm hopeful that this will make it one of the more rewarding jobs of my career too!"
Sarah will play the pious Miss Clack in the drama, which is part of the BBC's LoveToRead season, and said filming in Yorkshire was a highlight of the experience.
She said: "A local tearoom in Northallerton did become an obsession - they do these amazing bun type scone things called 'fat rascals' that I still think about now...!
"The countryside locations were stunning and I may have driven costume mad by getting on tractors in my taffeta frock - it was just too tempting. Clack, working the land."
The Moonstone will air across five consecutive afternoons on BBC1 starting on Monday October 31.