James Nesbitt has said he "can't wait" to begin filming a new Northern Irish crime drama for the BBC titled Bloodlands.

The 54-year-old actor will play detective Tom Brannick in the upcoming drama which follows a cat-and-mouse chase between the authorities and an infamous assassin.

Announcing the news, the Ballymena-born star praised the film and TV industry in his native Northern Ireland.

He said: "It's great to be back making a drama in and about Northern Ireland, which now has a film and television industry as good as any in the world.

"We have compelling scripts from a brilliant young writer who was raised in County Down, which are very exciting and psychologically complex. I can't wait to start."

The series has been produced by HTM Television, the company of Jed Mercurio, famed for creating and writing the edge-of-your-seat series Bodyguard and Line of Duty.

Mercurio, who is executive producer on the show with writer Chris Brandon on script duties, commented: "It's been incredibly rewarding to discover Chris Brandon's work and to witness the development of an outstanding new voice in contemporary television thriller writing, added to which everyone at HTM Television is honoured an actor of James Nesbitt's brilliance will star in our debut production."

Bloodlands seeks to shed light on the legacy of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Filming will take place around Belfast and Strangford Lough.

Further casting will be announced by the BBC.