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Irons plays an officer in A&E’s ‘Longitude’

SHARE Irons plays an officer in A&E’s ‘Longitude’

Holding viewers' interest in tales of latitude and longitude sounds daunting enough. Jeremy Irons is trying to do it for four hours.

The British actor stars in an A&E special today based on the novel "Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time."

The book by Dava Sobel tells the story of John Harrison, an 18th century carpenter and clockmaker who spends nearly a lifetime developing a method to determine position at sea.

In "Longitude," Irons plays another character in the book, Rupert Gould, a former World War I British naval officer whose own preoccupation with marine chronometers 200 years later becomes a parallel story of obsession.

Unlike the book, much of the television special focuses on Gould's private life, which includes a failed marriage, mental collapses and a romance with a nurse.