British actor Jeremy Irons has turned down the chance to star in the forthcoming movie remake of 1980s TV mini-series Brideshead Revisited. Irons - who played Charles Rider in the 1981 show - was approached for a different role, played by Lawrence Olivier in the original adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's novel.

But the Oscar winner was reluctant to take on a role played by one of the greatest actor's of all time. Irons says, "They did approach me and ask me to be involved in it - they wanted me to play the part of Lord Marchmain - but I said I couldn't possibly put my feet into the footsteps of Olivier.

"Marchmain is also old and dying, so I'm far too young and fit for that."

But Irons is confident the film - due to start shooting in May - will be a hit without him. He adds, "I have read the script and I think it's very good."