Les Miserables to be adapted for BBC by War and Peace screenwriter

Andrew Davies. Picture by PA.
Andrew Davies. Picture by PA.

A new six-part adaptation of Les Miserables written by the man behind the successful production of War And Peace has been announced by the BBC.

Screenwriter Andrew Davies, who is famous for his raunchy interpretations of classics, will adapt Victor Hugo's 19th century novel set at a time of civil unrest in France.

The series, which will be produced in association with Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein's Weinstein Television, will stay closer to the book than the famous musical adaptations, Davies has promised.

He said: "Les Miserables is a huge, iconic title. Most of us are familiar with the musical version, which only offers a fragmentary outline of its story.

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."

The story has a large cast of characters but focuses on former convict Jean Valjean and his pursuit by police officer Javert.

Charlotte Moore, director of BBC content, said: "Andrew Davies' extraordinary skill for adaptation will bring the world-famous Les Miserables into powerful focus for a modern audience, with a multi-layered re-telling of Victor Hugo's masterpiece.

"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."

The show, which will be a BBC Studios and Lookout Point co-production, will be distributed by BBC Worldwide, with Weinstein Television distributing in America and China.

Weinstein, who is behind numerous award winning films, said: " Victor Hugo's Les Miserables is one of the greatest novels of all time - and while the musical is one of my favourites, this will be completely different.

"An intense and serious drama that will find contemporary relevance to what's going on in the world today.

"I'm thrilled to be reunited with Faith Penhale and Simon Vaughan, my partners from War And Peace, with Charlotte Moore from the BBC, and of course, with Andrew Davies who wrote War And Peace.

"I think the BBC and Weinstein Television collaboration are a new paradigm in the telling of classics - they're modern and yet respectful.

"And, with the exception of James Bond, nobody does it better than Andrew Davies."