BBC One’s grand new adaptation of War and Peace topped the ratings over the weekend. Well, apart from Countryfile, of course.
The drama starring Lily James and James Norton thrilled an average overnight audience of 6.30 million (25.0%) at 9pm on Sunday.
Downton‘s Lily James stars with Paul Dano, James Norton, Tuppence Middleton, Gillian Anderson, Stephen Rea and Jim Broadbent in the adaptation by the prolific Andrew Davies (House Of Cards, Bridget Jones, Bleak House). The limited series, to which Davies has said he “added a bit more sex” than is in the book, is made by BBC Cymru Wales in partnership with The Weinstein Co and BBC Worldwide/Lookout Point.
Tolstoy’s expansive novel begins in 1805 Russia and revolves around five aristocratic families set against the backdrop of the reign of Alexander I, the lingering effects of his grandmother Catherine The Great’s rule and the events surrounding Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812.
Akin to the previews The Weinstein Co does of its Oscar-caliber movies during the Cannes Film Festival, Harvey Weinstein held a special buyers-only screening of 20 minutes of footage from War And Peace at October’s Mipcom. At the time, Weinstein told me he was keen to continue the co-production relationship with the BBC.
Davies said he believed his version is the “best work I’ve ever done.” Roundly, the cast and filmmakers said there is a humanization in this version compared to Tolstoy’s classic.
Exec producers are Faith Penhale, Simon Vaughn, Weinstein and Robert Walak.
Laura F. Nixon