Kenneth Lonergan, writer-director of the Oscar-nominated Manchester By The Sea, is to pen a new TV adaptation of the E.M. Forster classic Howards End.

The BBC is teaming up with US network Starz for the four part mini-series, which will examine the changing social and class divisions in Edwardian England through the prism of three families: the idealistic Schlegels, the wealthy Wilcoxes from the world of business, and the working class Basts.

Executive producer Lucy Richer says: “Kenneth Lonergan is one of our truly great contemporary voices, and his adaptation of this adored timeless classic will surprise and delight a whole new audience with its timely and relevant themes.”

Howards End was memorably brought to the big screen by the Merchant Ivory team in 1992, with Emma Thompson winning the Oscar for best actress for her performance as Margaret Schlegel. Her role in the new TV adaptation will be played by Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter), while Matthew Macfadyen (Ripper Street) has been cast as Henry Wilcox, the character Anthony Hopkins played in the movie version.

Earlier in the week, Lonergan – pictured above with Casey Affleck –  won a BAFTA for his screenplay for Manchester By The Sea, which has also been nominated for six Academy Awards.