Benedict Cumberbatch is to star in a new Brexit drama.

Benedict Cumberbatch

Benedict Cumberbatch

The 41-year-old actor will portray Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings in the Channel 4 political thriller, which will tell the story of how one of the most surprising referendum results in living memory came about.

The one-off programme - which has the working title 'Brexit' - will be directed Toby Haynes and written by James Graham, who admits he is "honoured" to be working on the show.

He said: "I'm so excited - not to mention a little nervous - to have this chance to try and get under the skin of what happened during that historic vote.

"I hope by going behind-the-scenes of the campaign, we're able to interrogate the consequences of what happened during these eight weeks that have changed the country forever.

"To work with this incredible team and Channel 4 to bring this story to life on screen is a real honour."

The thriller will run for two hours and explore the eight weeks in the summer of 2016 leading up to the referendum in 2016, in which 51.9 per cent of UK voted to leave the European Union.

Beth Willis, Channel 4's head of drama, admits the programme will be "explosive" and the channel are delighted to have cast "genius" Benedict in the lead role.

She said: "James' whip smart, funny and insightful writing is a breath of fresh air.

"We are so thrilled that he and the genius that is Benedict Cumberbatch feel Channel 4 is the right home for it - 'Brexit' is exactly the kind of explosive and illuminating drama we want to have on the channel."