BBC One is re-teaming with Andrew Davies, who most recently penned the channel’s six-part War & Peace event series, for an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, TVWise has learned.
Les Misérables, a 19th century classic widely regarded as one of the greatest books ever written, tells the story of Jean Valjean, a former convict unable to escape the shadow of his past life, and his relentless pursuit by the chilling police officer Javert. The story is a testament to the struggles of France’s underclass and how far they must go to survive.
“Les Misérables is a huge, iconic title. Most of us are familiar with the musical version, which only offers a fragmentary outline of its story”, Davies said in a statement. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity of doing real justice to Victor Hugo at last by adapting his masterpiece in a six-hour version for the BBC, with the same team who made War and Peace.”
Andrew Davies will pen all the scripts for the adaptation, which has received an order for six episodes. He is an award winning writer who, in addition to War & Peace, has penned such dramas as A Poet In New York, Mr Selfridge and Little Dorrit. Notably, he was also behind the original BBC series House Of Cards, which has since been adapted by Netflix with Kevin Spacey in the lead role.
This adaptation is set up as a co-production between BBC Studios and Lookout Point in association with Weinstein Television, who previously produced War & Peace for the BBC. It was commissioned by the BBC’s Director of Content Charlotte Moore and Acting Controller of Drama Commissioning Lucy Richer. The executive producers are Andrew Davies, Bethan Jones, Faith Penhale, Simon Vaughan and Harvey Weinstein. BBC Worldwide will handle global distribution; while The Weinstein Company will distribute the series in the US and China, and also hold an option on Canadian rights.
“Andrew Davies’ extraordinary skill for adaptation will bring the world-famous Les Misérables into powerful focus for a modern audience, with a multi-layered re-telling of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece”, said Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. “BBC One viewers can expect the same quality and scale from the team behind War and Peace in this epic tale of redemption and the healing power of love”.