EXCLUSIVE: The Chronicles of Narnia and Westworld star Ben Barnes is to star in BBC One drama Gold Digger.

British actor Barnes, who also starred in Netflix’s Marvel series The Punisher, will star opposite Legends of the Fall and Temple Grandin star Julia Ormond in the emotional thriller. It is his first role for the BBC in more than a decade.

Barnes plays Benjamin Golding, the thirty something copyrighter with a shrouded past who becomes involved with an older woman Julia Day, played by Ormond. In the six-part drama, which was written and created by Marnie Dickens (Thirteen), Ormond’s Day, a mother and a wife who has spent her whole life putting the needs of others before herself, falls in love with Golding, a man 25 years her junior. It looks at how their unconventional relationship impacts her family as the secrets of their past are revealed and investigates whether Benjamin is really the gold digger that they think he is.

The series is produced by ITV-owned Mainstreet Pictures. Tim Bradley (Unforgotten) will produce and Vanessa Caswill (Little Women) will direct the first three episodes. It is exec produced by Mainstreet’s Laura Mackie and Sally Haynes for Mainstreet Pictures, Elizabeth Kilgarriff for BBC One and Dickens.

Barnes said, “I’m thrilled to be joining the exciting cast and creative team in telling this unexpected, modern relationship story with the opportunity to play such a complex and enigmatic character.”

Marnie Dickens said, “Having Ben Barnes play the ‘gold digger’ of our title is a real coup. I’m very much looking forward to working with him.”

BBC’s Kilgarriff added, “We’re very excited that Ben Barnes is joining this fantastic show to play opposite Julia Ormond. Their characters’ relationship at the heart of the series promises many unexpected twists and turns and I can’t wait to see it come to life.”

Ben Barnes is repped by CAM in the UK and WME and Luber Roklin in America.