The actors will voice bunnies Hazel, Fiver and Bigwig alongside Sir Ben Kingsley as cruel General Woundwort in the four-part miniseries remake of the 1978 animated film, which was based on Richard Adams' 1972 novel of the same name.

Executive producer Rory Aitken said the animation, about a group of rabbits who try to find a safe new home after their warren is destroyed, will be toned down compared to the 1978 film, which featured shocking animal deaths.

“The thing about Watership Down is that it’s an epic adventure story,” he told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper. “It’s not a terrifying, brutal story. I think that in a way we want to restore the reputation that the book should have as one of the great adventure stories of all time.

“It’s grown this reputation for being scarring and horrific and brutal, and actually that’s not what the essence of the story is... While we won’t shy away from the darkness in the book, visually it won’t be as brutal and scarring."

The female characters Clover, Strawberry and Hyzenthlay, have also been given bigger roles and will be voiced by Gemma Arterton, Olivia Colman and MCAvoy's wife Anne-Marie Duff respectively. Freddie Fox and The Thick of It's Miles Jupp also have voice parts.

Watership Down is a joint venture between the BBC and streaming service Netflix and has been written by TV screenwriter Tom Bidwell.

The miniseries, which will be computer animated, is set to air over four one-hour parts at the end of 2017.