PAISLEY actor David Tennant is to play former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in a new ITV drama.

Mr Litvinenko died after being poisoned with a rare radioactive substance in London in 2006.

Now a four-part drama, called Litvinenko, will examine the tragic events, with former Doctor Who star Tennant in the lead role.

Ex-KGB officer Mr Litvinenko's death from polonium poisoning triggered one of the most complex and dangerous investigations in the history of the Metropolitan Police.

Litvinenko screenwriter George Kay said: "In late 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was a living witness to his own murder.

"He spent his dying days entrusting the Metropolitan Police with the details of what happened to him.

"It took those police and his remarkable widow, Marina Litvinenko, a decade to have those claims ratified.

"Their stamina, hard work and bravery are what make this not only an essential story of our times but a privilege to be asked to write."

Earlier this month, former Paisley Grammar School pupil Tennant won the Best Serial Drama Performance prize at the National Television Awards for his portrayal of serial killer Dennis Nilsen.

Millions of viewers tuned in to three-part drama Des, which told how Nilsen killed at least 15 young men in the late 1970s and early 80s.

The broadcast date for Litvinenko has yet to be confirmed.

Polly Hill, ITV's head of drama, said: “After David’s incredible performance as Dennis Nilsen, I’m delighted he returns to ITV to play Alexander Litvinenko in the incredible story of his murder.

"George Kay’s scripts are brilliant and this is an important story that documents a long police investigation and a powerful campaign for justice by his wife Marina.

"It is going to make a compelling drama and I am proud to have it on ITV.”