Today, the BBC announced one of their most ambitious literature adaptations to date, bringing Leo Tolstoy's classic "War and Peace" to the small screen.
The network has given the greenlight to frequent collaborator Andrew Davies to adapt the epic novel to a six hour mini-series, tentatively scheduled to air on BBC One some time in 2015.
Davies has previously worked with the network in giving two of Jane Austen's novels the mini-series treatment, with 1995's "Sense & Sensibility" and 2008's "Pride & Prejudice." Most recently he has penned two episodes of the Jeremy Piven series "Mr. Selfridge" for ITV. He spoke to The Telegraph of the Tolstoy project, commenting on the novel's intimidating scope and reputation, stating: "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."
He continued, noting that some of the philosophical elements of the novel may be ignored in favor of greater focus on the characters relationships. "In a way, I think [the adaptation] 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," he said.
The series was commissioned by BBC One's controller Danny Cohen and BBC Drama Commissioning controller Ben Stephenson. Said Cohen, "War and Peace is truly epic in scale and builds on BBC One's commitment to bringing audiences drama of the highest quality and impact."