Tuesday, February 19, 2013

War and Peace comes to the BBC in 'epic' Andrew Davies drama

It is one of the longest novels ever written, containing intricate philosophical musings about love, war and the complex relationships between aristocratic families.

Andrew Davies at The National Theatre on The Southbank
Andrew Davies at The National Theatre on The Southbank Photo: REX
Now Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is to be turned into an "epic" six-part television series, written by the award-winning Andrew Davies and broadcast by BBC One.
The ambitious programme will be the first adaptation of the novel on British television for 40 years, and promises all the drama of Britain’s best-loved soaps.
The adaptation, based in war-torn 19th century Russia around the three central characters, will be broadcast in six, one-hour-long programmes.
The lengthy philosophical elements of the book will be left out, with the show focusing on the human relationships, romance and family struggles instead.
Davies, who is best-known for his adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Little Dorrit and Bleak House, said he was delighted to bring War and Peace to a new audience on television.

Speaking of the potentially daunting length of Tolstoy’s work, he told the Telegraph: “It’s nothing to be frightened of.
“These people are just like us; their emotions are so recognisable. The characters are so natural and human and easy to identify with and Natasha Rostova just beats Lizzy Bennet as the most lovable heroine in literature.
“In a way, I think it will be quite manageable, because quite a lot of the book is taken up with Tolstoy’s theories on history and his account of why Napoleon was defeated in the Russian campaign.
“But at the heart of the book, it is a story of four families and the interaction between them, with certain characters we get to care about and love very much.
“It’s a very intimate story, despite the fact it involves armies of thousands.
“People found the book so enormous. This will be a way of doing it.”
Describing the interaction between the central families as “so true to life”, he suggested that a faithful reproduction of Tolstoy’s work would attract popular audiences without the need to "dumb it down".
He joked the interaction between characters and families would be “very familiar” to fans of soap EastEnders, but with “not so much yelling and nobody on the dole.”
The original 1869 story, which stretches to 1,225 pages long, already portrays children rebelling against their parents, fathers struggling with pride and a young heroine who chooses the “wrong bloke”.
“It’s all there,” he said. 
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