By Rory Reynolds
SCOTS actor Brian Cox is part of a star-studded cast for a new BBC drama about the sinking of the RMS Laconia by a German u-boat in 1942.
Cox, 63, – who previously starred in blockbuster The Bourne Supremacy and X-Men II – will appear in The Sinking Of The Laconia as the heroic Captain Sharp, who evacuated many of the ship’s passengers before it sank.
Captain Sharp’s knowledge and swift action was said to be instrumental in saving many lives – because his previous ship had also been torpedoed by the Germans.
Sharp controlled the chaos onboard the ill-fated vessel, before evacuating the woman and children from the ship.
The Dundee-born actor – who usually portrays villains like Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter – will star alongside Andrew Buchan, who has featured in the award-winning drama Cranford and ITV’s The Fixer.The part is a return to television for the 63-year-old, who divides his time between big Hollywood productions and working with young actors at the Scottish Youth Theatre.
Also joining Brian Cox will be award-winning actress and fellow Scot, Lindsay Duncan, who has previously starred in the HBO series Rome and spy series Spooks.
Edinburgh-born Duncan, 58, has recently portrayed Margaret Thatcher’s last days in office as prime minister, which was screened in February this year.
The fate of the Cunard ocean liner – which had been converted into an armed carrier for Italian prisoners – is famous because of the efforts of the u-boat’s commander made to rescue the crew and passengers.
U-boat Commander Werner Hartenstein mounted a rescue operation and crammed the deck of his submarine with the survivors.
But his vessel was attacked by a US bomber and forced to leave them behind in the water, 130 miles from land.
The BBC drama – which began filming on Saturday – also includes top German actor Thomas Kretschmann, who played a Nazi officer opposite Adrien Brody in the Oscar-winning film, The Pianist.