Stage star Lee Mead is joining the cast of Casualty as a nurse called Lofty.

The BBC says that Mead's character - his first full-time role on-screen - will be "likeable and popular" with "a less-than-ordinary background".

Mead, who made a guest appearance on the medical drama two years ago, will begin filming later this year and will be seen on-screen in early 2014.

He said: "I'm thrilled to be joining Casualty. I really enjoyed my guest appearance in 2011, but this will be a completely different challenge.

"When I first read about the character Lofty I didn't imagine I would be in the frame to play him."

Mead continued: "I am hoping he will charm audiences and they will get behind him. I can't wait to get started and to learn all of the medical jargon!"

Oliver Kent, Casualty's Executive Producer, said: "As the character Lofty was being developed, we couldn't think of anyone else to better to play him. We can't wait to start filming and are thrilled to have Lee join the team."

Kent added: "With a very different background to most of the other nurses, his clumsy charm is sure to win everyone over."