A WORLD exclusive first screening of a film based on a classic book by an 18th century local author is to take place in the small North Yorkshire village of Coxwold.

The star-studded move, A Cock and Bull Story, is Michael Winterbottom's screen adaptation of Laurence Sterne's tale.

Based on The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, the film stars Stephen Fry, Steve Coogan and the X-Files' Gillian Anderson.

Patrick Wildgust, 53, curator of Shandy Hall, where the author lived, was thrilled at the coup.

"I am delighted it is to be shown here and I just wish we could have had more screenings," he said.

"It's very, very generous of Mr Winterbottom to let us show it here. He is a charming and delightful man, that's one of the reasons why he gets so many good actors to work for him."

The official premiere screening for the film is in September at the Montreal Film Festival in Canada.

Tickets for the screening tonight at 7.30 in the village hall are sold out, such has been the interest in Coxwold.

And there is a small chance that director Michael Winterbottom may show up on the night.

Laurence Sterne was born in 1713 and became a priest before writing The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy in 1759, nine years before he died.

Despite the Shandy Hall link, much of the filming was done in Norfolk owing to technical problems.

But comedian Stephen Fry did shoot a small part of the film at Shandy Hall.

There will be fun on the night with R Turnbull and Son, of Foxfoot Hay Farm, bringing a bull for a guess the weight competition.

The funds from the screening are to go to the Laurence Sterne Trust, which runs Shandy Hall.