Stranger Things star will play The Elephant Man in new BBC One series from Moorside writer

Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton – aka Jonathan Byers – will play Joseph Merrick in an upcoming drama series for BBC One.

According to Deadline, Heaton will star in a two-part biopic titled The Elephant Man, which will tell the extraordinary true story of Joseph Merrick, known by many as the ‘Elephant Man’.

Merrick was an act in the so-called freak shows of the 19th century, where he drew the attention of audiences and the world of medicine with his significant, and mostly unexplained, face and body deformities.

[The 1980 film The Elephant Man]

It was suggested that Merrick had been born with a rare congenital disorder called Proteus syndrome in the 1980s, but the reason for his disabilities has never been conclusively decided.

Because of his unique condition, Joseph Merrick’s life has been depicted on both screen and stage, with portrayals of Merrick from the likes of John Hurt, David Bowie and Bradley Cooper.

Reflecting on his upcoming role, and its unique challenges, Charlie Heaton said that he was “extremely excited and honoured” to play Merrick.

“This is such a special role and a challenge for any actor. Joseph has such an incredible story and I can’t wait to go on this journey and bring him to life,” the actor said.

The Elephant Man, which is set to film in Wales, has been written by Moorside‘s Neil McKay and will be directed by Mum‘s Richard Laxton. Poldark‘s Tom Mullens will produce.

The Elephant Man is expected to air on BBC One next year.

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