Actor Tom Hardy is joining forces with Sir Ridley Scott for a BBC One period drama about the East India Company.
The eight-part series, Taboo, will star Hardy as a rogue adventurer who sets out to build a shipping empire, pitting him against the East India Company.
Inception star Hardy, who wrote the original story with his father Chips, called it “a flagship British drama for this generation”.
Gladiator director Sir Ridley said Hardy’s character “will become iconic”.
“This is a period in British history where the rising power of the Empire seeped into every dark corner,” said Sir Ridley, best known for cult films such as Alien and Blade Runner, who will produce the drama.
The drama, set in 1813, will reunite Hardy with screenwriter Steven Knight, with whom he worked on the forthcoming film Locke.
Knight is also the writer of BBC gangster drama Peaky Blinders, which Hardy is joining for its second series this autumn.
Knight described the lead character, James Delaney, as “a deeply flawed and deeply troubled human being”.
“His greatest struggle will be against the East India Company which, throughout the 19th Century, was the equivalent of the CIA, the NSA and the biggest, baddest multinational corporation on earth, all rolled into one self-righteous, religiously motivated monolith.”
Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC drama commissioning, said he was “thrilled” to see Hardy and Knight reunited on the series.
“This is a major and ambitious undertaking for the BBC, reinforcing our commitment to be the best home for creative talent.”
Tom Hardy’s company, Hardy Son & Baker, will co-produce the series with Scott’s Scott Free London. Shooting will begin in early 2015.
Hardy, who became a well-known name following his villainous turn as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, can shortly be seen in James Gandolfini’s final film The Drop.
He is also lined up to play the lead in the forthcoming Mad Max reboot, as well as playing Elton John in the Rocketman biopic.
The actor is reported to be starring in the National Theatre’s film adaptation of London Road, alongside Broadchurch star Olivia Colman.
London Road was inspired by the murders committed by Ipswich serial killer Steve Wright, who was found guilty in February 2008 of murdering five women working as prostitutes.