Nicole Kidman is to return to the West End for the first time in 17 years to honour the memory of her late father.

The 'Paddington' actress will star in a play about scientists discovering the ''secret of life'' in honour of Dr. Anthony Kidman, who died suddenly in September last year.

Before his tragic death, Nicole had asked her father if she should star in the play. Recalling their conversation, she said: ''My dad was a biochemist and he knew all about Rosalind Franklin.

''When I told him I was thinking about doing it, he was very excited. Then my dad passed away last September. I went, 'Alright, I need to do this for my father.'''

The 47-year-old actress is to portray pioneering DNA researcher Rosalind Franklin in 'Photograph 51', which will run for 11 weeks from September 2015.

And Nicole is also keen to star in that particular play because it was written by a woman, American playwright Anna Ziegler.

She told the Daily Mail newspaper: ''It's written by a woman, and it's about a woman that a lot of women don't know about.

''And I need to do it because I've got to get back on stage, into that uncomfortable place of going, 'I'm terrified!'''

Nicole last made her appearance on the West End stage in 1998 when she starred in 'The Blue Room'.