It’s a classic novel that has already been adapted for the big and small screen countless times.

But Louisa May Alcott’s beloved 1868 novel Little Women is once again taking the leap from page to TV as a major new BBC adaptation has been announced.

Dame Angela Lansbury and Michael Gambon will lead the cast for the three-part series which will begin shooting this month.

The book about the four young sisters on their journey from childhood to adulthood is being brought to the small screen by Call The Midwife creator Heidi Thomas.

Oscar-winning actress Dame Angela, 91, is to take on the role of the cantankerous Aunt March, the wealthy relative of the girls.

Gambon, 76 – who has won a litany of top accolades including four TV Baftas and three Olivier Awards – will portray the March family’s benevolent neighbour Mr Laurence.

Bafta-winning actress Emily Watson, 50, will play Marmee, the family matriarch.

The roles of the sisters have been filled by up-and-coming actresses including Maya Hawke – the 18-year-old daughter of actors Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke.

The fledgling actress, who has largely stayed out of the limelight with the exception of a few red carpet appearances, is starting to make waves both in the acting and fashion worlds, becoming the face of British fashion giant AllSaints’ SS17 collection last year and securing a number of high profile acting roles.

Maya will play Jo March in the new Little Women adaptation, the book-loving flighty sister desperate for adventure away from the family’s Concord home.

Newcomers Willa Fitzgerald, Annes Elwy and Kathryn Newton, who play Meg, Beth and Amy respectively.

Jonah Hauer-King, who appeared in TV mini-series Howards End, will also appear as the boy next door Laurie Laurence.

American author Alcott’s coming-of-age story was first published in 1868, and has maintained its enduring popularity through the generations.

With the help of their mother Marmee while their father is away at war, the sisters navigate their way through growing up and what it means to be a woman, from gender roles to sibling rivalry, love, marriage and loss.

The series will be directed by My Mad Fat Diary’s Vanessa Caswill and produced by Playground, the entertainment production company behind TV shows including Wolf Hall and The Missing.

Principal photography on Little Women – a co-production with BBC One and Masterpiece on PBS – begins this month in Ireland.