Martin Freeman, whose growing list of TV credits includes Sherlock, StartUp, Fargo and the upcoming Breeders, which just landed an FX series order, has bagged himself another major small-screen role. 

The actor will star alongside Imelda Staunton in the six-part drama A Confession from Philomena screenwriter Jeff Pope, whose Laurel and Hardy biopic Stan & Ollie, starring Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly, is having its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on Sunday. The series — which was unveiled Monday by ITV's head of drama Polly Hill — will be co-produced by ITV Studios and Urban Myth Films. 

A Confession, which details the disappearance of a 22-year-old girl in March 2011, will tell the story of how Detective Superintendent Steve Fulcher, played by Freeman, deliberately breached police procedure and protocol to catch a killer, a decision that ultimately cost him his career and reputation.

Staunton will play the mother of a girl who disappeared a decade previously, while Joe Absolom (Doc Martin) will play local taxi driver and chief suspect Christopher Halliwell, whose startling confession steers the investigation in a wholly unforeseen direction.

"I found this is a fascinating story to tell on a number of levels," said Pope "On one hand it is a brilliant piece of detective work, but in order to find both girls Fulcher felt he had to deny Halliwell his rights as a suspect. It brings into question how we want our police to behave when someone goes missing. Should Fulcher have been praised as a courageous officer fighting for the life of a girl, or lose his career for riding roughshod over the law?"

Paul Andrew Williams (Strangers, Broadchurch) will direct all six episodes of A Confession, which will be executive produced by Pope for ITV Studios, Johnny Capps (Merlin, Atlantis) and Julian Murphy (Atlantis, Demons) for Urban Myth Films, with Tom Dunbar as producer.

"It is wonderful to be working with Jeff Pope again on this compelling and important true story," said Hill. "I’m delighted that the brilliant Martin Freeman and Imelda Staunton are leading the cast, making this an unmissable drama for next year."

ITV Studios Global Entertainment will distribute the drama internationally.