Entertainment & Arts

Les Miserables to become six-part BBC drama

Victor Hugo and Andrew Davies Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Davies (right) said his adaptation would do "real justice" to Hugo (left)

Victor Hugo novel Les Miserables is to be turned into a six-part BBC One drama by Bafta-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies, the BBC has confirmed.

The "landmark adaptation" follows the success of Davies' recent dramatisation of Tolstoy's War and Peace.

Charlotte Moore, the BBC's director of content, promised the "epic tale" would have "the same quality and scale".

Published in 1862, Les Miserables has spawned many film and TV adaptations as well as a celebrated stage musical.

But according to Davies, the musical version of Hugo's novel "only offers a fragmentary outline of its story".

Image caption Davies recently adapted War and Peace for BBC One

The House of Cards writer said he was "thrilled to have the opportunity of doing real justice at last" to Hugo's "huge, iconic title".

Harvey Weinstein, who will distribute the series in the US and China through his Weinstein Television company, said the series would be "completely different" from the stage show.

The US producer said the "modern and yet respectful" adaptation would be "an intense and serious drama that will find contemporary relevance to what's going on in the world today".

A previous BBC dramatisation which aired in 1967 starred Frank Finlay as Jean Valjean, the heroic ex-convict at the centre of the narrative.

Image caption Vivian MacKerell and Cavan Kendall in the BBC's 1967 dramatisation of Les Miserables

Davies first revealed he was working on the project in February, saying Weinstein's involvement would mean "a huge chunk of American money".

"Harvey... said we could do this with or without the BBC," he told the Telegraph. "There are so many places you can go these days.

"But I would always want to be on the BBC on a Sunday night. It's my absolute favourite place to be."

The 79-year-old's other TV dramas include Mr Selfridge, The Line of Beauty and his 1995 version of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.


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