Anthony Andrews will play embattled former Prime Minister Anthony Eden in the world premiere of Hugh Whitemore’s A Marvellous Year for Plums, which opens at Chichester Festival Theatre in May as part of the venue's 50th anniversary season.

Directed by Philip Franks, the play is billed as a “sophisticated political thriller” and centres on the 1956 Suez Crisis, which caused the downfall of Eden’s premiership.

Andrews rose to fame playing Sebastian Flyte in ITV’s acclaimed 1981 drama series Brideshead Revisited, for which he received Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards, as well as an Emmy Award Nomination. His other screen credits include The King’s Speech, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Danger UXB. Theatre credits include West End productions of Ghosts, The Letter, My Fair Lady, The Woman in White and Sandi Toksvig’s Bully Boy.

A Marvellous Year for Plums will mark Andrews’ debut in a Chichester Festival production, though he worked at Chichester as an assistant stage manager and a stand-in producer in the early years of his career.

A Marvellous Year for Plums runs from 17 May to 2 June (previews from 11 May) in the Chichester Festival Theatre.