×

BBC to adapt Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’

Andrew Davies to pen six-part serial

LONDON — The BBC has underscored its commitment to big-budget drama by commissioning a six-part adaptation of “War and Peace.”

Scribe Andrew Davies, who won Emmys for the original version of “House of Cards” in 1990 and 2008’s “Little Dorrit,” is to adapt Leo Tolstoy’s novel as six one-hour episodes. It will air in 2015.

The upscale event drama will be exec produced by Faith Penhale, who is head of drama at BBC Wales. It was commissioned by Ben Stephenson, the BBC’s head of drama.

Davies said: “(It is) a thrilling, funny and heartbreaking story of love, war and family life. 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 speech to industry players last week, Stephenson reaffirmed the pubcaster’s commitment to drama, thought to be under threat from budget cuts: “I want to make BBC drama a cultural institution — a touchstone for quality and modernity with all the excitement and glamour of a curtain going up,” he said.

Among productions announced last week were an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s “Jamaica Inn,” and “Burton and Taylor,” which stars Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter.

The BBC’s recent drama output has included Stephen Poliakoff’s “Dancing on the Edge” and Jane Campion’s “Top of the Lake.”

Stephenson is set to deliver a keynote speech on creativity at April’s Mip-TV mart in Cannes.

More TV

  • THE GOOD PLACE -- "Patty" Episode

    'The Good Place' Boss on Reaching the Titular Location, Finding It's a 'Bummer'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Patty,” the penultimate episode of “The Good Place.” The titular good place on Mike Schur’s philosophical comedy “The Good Place” isn’t a literal place at all but instead a state of mind. Sure, after four seasons (50 episodes) the characters on the show did [...]

  • obi wan ewan mcgregor

    Obi-Wan Kenobi Series at Disney Plus Loses Writer, Seeks to Overhaul Scripts

    Pre-production on the Obi-Wan Kenobi-focused TV series in the works at Disney Plus has been put on hold as the streamer and Lucasfilm look to overhaul early scripts and find new writers, sources tell Variety. Hossein Amini had been attached to write. The news follows recent talk that the entire series was being scrapped altogether. [...]

  • Zion Williamson

    Zion Williamson's Pelicans Debut Is a Ratings Slam Dunk

    With ratings in a slump so far this season, the NBA has needed someone to come off the bench and ball out. Cue the New Orleans Pelicans debut of Zion Williamson. The much-heralded number 1 pick from the 2019 draft had sat out the first 44 games of the Pelicans’ season with a knee injury, [...]

  • RuPauls Drag Race

    TV News Roundup: VH1 Announces 'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season 12 Contestants

    In today’s TV news roundup, VH1 revealed the contestants for the upcoming season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and the Oprah Winfrey Network renewed several of its unscripted series. CASTING VH1 revealed the 13 queens that will be competing on the 12th season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” are Aidenn Zhane, Bria, Crystal Methyd, Dahlia Sin, Gigi [...]

  • Outmatched

    'Outmatched' With Jason Biggs and Maggie Lawson: TV Review

    The latest variation on network sitcoms’ beloved “a family, but with [x complication],” Fox’s “Outmatched” flips the usual parent-child dynamic on its head by following an Atlantic City family, including three bonafide genius kids who are too smart for their bewildered parents to understand. Each time one of their children tests off the charts, Mike [...]

  • Janene Drafs KTLA

    Janene Drafs Becomes First Woman to Lead KTLA

    KTLA-TV is poised for a historic changing of the guard as Seattle station executive Janene Drafs takes the reins of the storied Los Angeles TV station as general manager following the retirement of local broadcast stalwart Don Corsini. Drafs, who is the first woman to lead KTLA, is set to begin her post as VP and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content