Charles Lawson is to play the brilliant Inspector Rebus in a stage play.

Charles Lawson

Charles Lawson

The former 'Coronation Street' star - who played Jim McDonald in the ITV soap - has signed up to star as the Edinburgh detective in a new play, which is based on the character made famous in the Inspector Rebus novels by Ian Rankin.

Rankin is working with playwright Rona Munro on the new crime story.

He said: "When she said yes I thought: let's give it a go ... It is always a challenge for a novelist because a novelist gets to play God. Nobody else gets a say in what I'm doing or how I'm doing it. As soon as it becomes a collaborative process there's got to be some give and take, but one of the great things about writing this was that when we got together it was always exciting, we were always coming up with ideas, finding solutions to problems."

The new story will see a retired Rebus act as a consultant on cold cases.

Rankin added: "His health is catching up with him. He's no longer able to get into fights or chase suspects in the way he could 20 years ago, but we all go through that. I think readers like that, fans of the books like that as they are getting older and creakier so is Rebus. At the same time we were focused on it as a character study; a study of this complex man towards the end of his working life, wondering if he still makes a difference or not."

Rankin is looking forward to see Lawson in the lead role.

He shared to The Guardian newspaper: "I don't really know what Rebus looks like because I'm looking at the world through his eyes. When people say 'is this actor a close fit for Rebus?', I go, 'I've no idea, I really don't.'"

'Rebus: Long Shadows' is set to premiere at the Birmingham Repertory theatre in September and is then expected to tour around the UK, including shows in Rebus' hometown of Edinburgh.