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James Bond Writers to Adapt Len Deighton Novel ‘SS-GB’ for BBC

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade have been commissioned to write five one-hour episodes

Neal Purvis and Robert Wade James
Mark Davis/Getty Images

The BBC has commissioned Robert Wade and Neal Purvis, the writers of the last five James Bond films, to adapt Len Deighton’s novel “SS-GB.”

The series for flagship channel BBC One comprises five one-hour episodes. It is set in an imaginary Britain controlled by the Nazis, if Germany had occupied the country. It centers on a police detective caught between the Nazis and the British resistance.

Sid Gentle Films, whose creative director is former Carnival Films exec Sally Woodward Gentle, is exec producing with Lee Morris.

It is part of a slate of projects to be unveiled later today by BBC drama boss Ben Stephenson.

The slate also includes a new adaptation of “The Dresser,” about life in the theater, starring Anthony Hopkins and Ian McKellen, and directed by Richard Eyre, the former chief of the National Theatre.

The original play was a hit on London’s West End and Broadway in 1980, and was adapted as a movie in 1983, starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay.

It follows an ailing actor, to be played by Hopkins, and his dresser, who is struggling to keep the company afloat during World War II.

Sonia Friedman Prods. and Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment are producing the two-hour TV movie for the BBC.