David Walliams, better known as the straight half of the Little Britain team, will further highlight his credentials as a serious actor in a new BBC4 drama.

Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me will tell the story of the camp funny man, a star from the 1950s until his death in 1992.

The drama is based on interviews with the comedy legend’s partner Dennis Heymer.

Howerd, who suffered from depression and “inner demons,” remained in the closet throughout his life.

“I have been a lifelong fan of Frankie and his work,” said Walliams, currently in the US filming an American version of Little Britain with comedy partner Matt Lucas.

“I even managed to get an autograph after one of his shows!

“Playing Howerd is, in many ways, a dream role for me.

“In fact, Matt Lucas and I first bonded as struggling comedians over a shared love of Frankie Howerd impressions.”

BBC fiction controller Jane Tranter said:

“David is one of the country’s most talented actors and performers, so we are delighted to have him on board for this fantastic season of dramas for BBC4.”

Walliams recently showcased his drama credentials in BBC1 crime drama Waking The Dead, and Stephen Poliakoff’s Capturing Mary for BBC2.