Veteran actor SIR Derek Jacobi is set to add another historical character to his filmography as he takes on the role of Chilean dictator GENERAL AUGUSTO PINOCHET.

The I, CLAUDIUS star has played a bumbling Roman Emperor, a frightening control freak in PHILLIP II and more recently Adolf Hitler.

He enthuses, "I'm going to have to put some weight on for the role and shave off my beard. I've also got to work out what accent to use, as Pinochet doesn't speak any English but has quite a high voice."

Jacobi will portray Pinochet in a new BBC drama series which will focus on the former leader's UK arrest, and his controversial relationship with former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher.

Pinochet, 89, is currently under investigation for the torture and disappearance of thousands of people in Chile.