Comedy actor and former builder Ricky Tomlinson has been asked to star in a film about the working lives of a team of painters and decorators.
In an interview with Building, Tomlinson said he had been asked by actor Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, to play a role in a film adaptation of Robert Tressell's 1914 novel The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists.

Tomlinson was introduced to the book while serving a prison sentence in Leicester jail for being involved in a series of "flying picket" strike actions on construction sites in the 1970s. He describes it as the "building worker's bible".

Tomlinson told Building: "I had a phone call from Andy Serkis, Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, who's been nominated for an Oscar. He's a good friend of mine. He asked me if I fancied a role."

Tomlinson, star of the BBC series The Royle Family, added that he wanted to play the part of Crass in the film, who is a supervisor rather than a normal worker. He said: "I think he's a fabulous character."

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists became a set text for British socialists after its publication for its no-holds-barred depiction of the hard lives and political consciences of workers at the turn of the century.