One of the greatest portraits of life in the theatre, “The Dresser” has been adapted for television and brings Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins together on screen for the first time.

The play tells the story of one fateful night in a small regional theatre during World War Two as a troupe of touring actors stage a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear. Bombs are falling, the sirens are wailing, the curtain is up in an hour but the actor/manager Sir who is playing Lear is nowhere to be seen. His dresser Norman must scramble to keep the production alive, but will Sir turn up in time and if he does, will he be able to perform that night?

The incredibly talented Sarah Lancashire plays Madge, Stage Manager for the company. Her cold, business-like demeanour belies a longstanding, unrequited love and devotion to Sir. More alike than they probably understand, Madge and Norman find themselves at odds, both suffering the truth of their feelings for Sir in silence…

Don’t miss this brilliant one-off drama on Saturday 31st Oct, 9pm, BBC2