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Rachel Weisz stars alongside Bill Nighy in Page Eight, about Britain's MI5 spy service. ((Jas Lehal/Reuters))

Award-winning playwright David Hare has created his first original screenplay in two decades, a television drama which will star Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes and Bill Nighy.

"I'm thrilled to be working with such an extraordinary ensemble of great actors," said the 63-year-old writer about his cast, which also includes Michael Gambon (The Singing Detective, Harry Potter).

Page Eight has Nighy (Love Actually, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End) portraying an MI5 officer who is forced to quit so he can delve into a mystery file which threatens the British spy agency.

"The last decade has been as testing as any in the history of the British intelligence community," Hare told BBC News. "The compromises and dilemmas they've faced in the new century make a fascinating story."

The drama, also directed by Hare, is set to air on BBC Two later this year.

Hare, who was knighted in 1998 and bestowed the honorific of Sir, has written many acclaimed plays including: Plenty, Skylight, The Blue Room and Via Dolorosa.

He was also nominated twice for his screen adaptations for The Hours in 2002 and The Reader in 2008.

A TV, film and theatre director, Hare directed the Broadway play version of Joan Didion's book The Year of Magical Thinking back in 2007, starring Vanessa Redgrave.