Today Sheffield Theatres announced the full casting for its winter production of Hamlet starring John Simm.

Simm, who takes the lead role of Hamlet as we reported last year (See News, 11 Dec 2009), will be joined by John Nettles, of Bergerac and Midsomer Murders fame, with Michelle Dockery and Barbara Flynn.

Nettles will trade Inspector Barnaby’s detective badge for the morally questionable role of Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle and the perpetrator of his brother’s demise. He will double up the role with that of the Ghost of Hamlet’s father.

Michelle Dockery, the star of new ITV drama Downton Abbey which hits screens this autumn, takes the role of Ophelia. Audiences will have seen her previous television appearances in Cranford, Waking the Dead and Red Riding.

Barbara Flynn plays Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, and returns to the Crucible having previously performed in Sorry. Also seen on screen in Cranford, as Mrs Jamieson as well as Ten Days to War, and Elizabeth I, Flynn's theatre credits include King Lear, (National Theatre), and Woman of Troy (Gate Theatre) .

Alongside them, audiences will find Dylan Brown (Rosencrantz), Adam Foster (Guildernstern), Ben Lamb (Voltemand/Player/Fortinbras), James Loye (Laertes/Lucianus), Joseph Mydell (Player King/Francisco/Captain), Hugh Ross (Polonius/Grave Digger), Harry Lister Smith (Cornelius), Roderick Smith (Marcellus/Player/Priest) and Colin Tierney (Horatio).

The production will be the opening show in Artistic Director Daniel Evans’ second season of work and will be directed by Associate Director Paul Miller.

Designs are by Tom Scutt, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick and music and sound is by Ben and Max Ringham.

The production opens 22 September with previews from 16 and runs until 23 October.

- Vicky Ellis