The star of Sherlock and Patrick Melrose will take on the role of Dominic Cummings, the former Michael Gove adviser who led Vote Leave to victory in 2016.
The film, due to air early next year shortly before Britain leaves the EU in March, will be written by James Graham, who has won awards for his political plays such as This House and Ink.
The TV production, partly based on books written by the Sunday Times political editor, Tim Shipman, and the former Downing Street director of communications Craig Oliver, is likely to examine how Cummings led Vote Leave to victory against the odds while having a sometimes tempestuous relationship with those around him.
Cummings’ involvement in the Brexit campaign is still being examined by authorities, with MPs formally requesting the former Vote Leave strategist appears in front of a select committee to answer questions, while the Electoral Commission is investigating whether his campaign broke spending rules.
The Brexit drama was one of several programmes unveiled for Channel 4 by the organisation’s new director of programmes, Ian Katz, who described it as a “knotty, topical” drama.
The former Newsnight editor and Guardian deputy editor said he was committed to looking for diverse and new voices, while “doubling down on some of our shows which are more popular with younger viewers”.
Other shows announced by Channel 4 on Wednesday include a sitcom starring the comedian Aisling Bea, a three-part series presented by Kathy Burke on what it means to be a woman in 2018, and a pilot of a late-night satirical news programme hosted by Deborah Frances-White.
There will also be an 11pm talkshow hosted by Big Narstie and a reality TV show called The Circle, in which contestants compete to become the most popular individual on a social network without ever actually meeting.
The channel is looking to move many of its staff outside London, while investing in more regional productions, following a deal with the government to ensure its independence.
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