A new six-part adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, a 19th century classic and widely regarded as one of the greatest books ever written, was announced today. The Les Misérables mini-series is a BBC Studios and Lookout Point co-production for BBC One in association with Weinstein Television.
Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content said: “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. BBC One viewers can expect the same quality and scale from the team behind ‘War & Peace’ in this epic tale of redemption and the healing power of love.”
Andrew Davies will go back to the novel and delve deep into the many layers of Hugo’s story, revelling in Jean Valjean and Javert’s cat-and-mouse relationship, against the epic backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest. With a striking intensity and relevance to us today, the novel is testimony to the struggles of France’s underclass and how far they must go to survive.
Over six hours, the series will bring to life a vast and unforgettable cast of characters and tell 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.
Andrew Davies said: “’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. 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 & Peace.”
Nick Betts, BBC Studios said: “BBC Studios is delighted that our first drama commission with our partners Lookout Point and Weinstein Television will reunite Andrew Davies and the brilliant production team behind ‘War & Peace’ to produce a definitive version of ‘Les Misérables’ for the BBC.”
Faith Penhale, Lookout Point said: “It’s a privilege to be working with Andrew, Harvey and the BBC again to bring Hugo’s searingly relevant masterpiece, and his biggest achievement, faithfully to life for a modern audience.”
Harvey Weinstein, Weinstein Television said: “Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Misérables’ is one of the greatest novels of all time – and while the musical is one of my favorites 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 & Peace,’ with Charlotte Moore from the BBC, and of course, with Andrew Davies who wrote ‘War & 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.”
Executive Producers will be Andrew Davies, Bethan Jones for BBC Studios, Faith Penhale and Simon Vaughan for Lookout Point and Harvey Weinstein for Weinstein Television. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and Lucy Richer, Acting Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning.
Following the recent international success of the hugely popular and critically lauded War & Peace, BBC Worldwide will also globally distribute Les Misérables as part of its overall strategic relationship with Lookout Point and BBC Studios. Weinstein Television will distribute the series in the US and China with an option for Canada.