Evelyn Waugh adaptation 'an anarchic Downton Abbey', says Jack Whitehall

Jack Whitehall has described his latest television project as "an anarchic Downton Abbey".

Whitehall, 28, will feature alongside Poirot star David Suchet and American actress Eva Longoria in the BBC One adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's satirical novel Decline And Fall.

Jack Whitehall is starring in the BBC One adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's satirical novel Decline And Fall

Jack Whitehall is starring in the BBC One adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's satirical novel Decline And Fall

Fresh Meat star Whitehall plays theology student Paul Pennyfeather, who, after being expelled from Oxford, takes a teaching job at a murky Welsh public school.

He told the Daily Mail's Weekend magazine: "We see the 1920s on screen a lot, but not with the wit this piece has.

"It's like an anarchic Downton Abbey. The comedy is so sharp it feels modern, and its targets are still relevant. I think it really works for an audience now."

Longoria plays South American seductress Margot Beste-Chetwynde, the mother of a pupil at the school.

Whitehall recalled watching her in Desperate Housewives, the popular American show about a group of women living in Wisteria Lane, in which she played Gabrielle Solis.

"When she arrived on set none of us had any idea what she would be like. But she was so down to earth, saying hello to everyone, queuing up to get her food behind all the crew, and then sitting on the bus and eating it with everyone else.

"She wasn't a diva in any way."

The pair filmed a love scene which Longoria said ended with her apologising to Whitehall.

She said: "The director wanted me to rip his top off in one go, so they put double-sided sticky tape on it instead of doing up the buttons.

"But the tape was stuck to his chest so when I tore it open half the hair came off his chest. He was screaming and I was saying, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry'!"

:: Decline And Fall begins on BBC One on March 31 at 9pm

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