Eccles to play fantasy villain

It looks like playing Doctor Who might have given our favourite Salford boy a bit of a taste for fantastical roles. First he took a role as an invisible man in Heroes; now it's been announced that he'll be the bad guy in the latest attempt to jump on the Lord of the Rings bandwagon - fantasy film The Dark is Rising.

The film is based on Susan Cooper's Arthurian fantasy saga for "young adults" (or "children" as they were called back when the books were actually written...). Eccleston will be playing The Black Rider, an evil lord of the dark (hey, even evil lords of the dark can come from the North).

Shooting starts soon in Romania.