War and Peace screenwriter Andrew Davies on Les Miserables TV adaptation: “Now we’re in the exciting bit!”

The 80-year-old writer scoffs at the suggestion of retiring, and sets his sights set on Charles Dickens, John Updike and Alison Lurie adaptations: "I am hoping to have a really productive decade between now and 90 years old"

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Andrew Davies celebrated his 80th birthday last year – but there is no way he is putting his laptop away and retiring.

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“I don’t want people to think that is the end of me, because I am hoping to have a really productive decade between now and 90 years old,” the screenwriter of War and Peace and Pride and Prejudice promised at the Radio Times Covers Party on Tuesday night.

In fact he has a rather lengthy wish list of projects, to add to his current drama, a lavish (and as-yet-uncast) BBC1 adaptation of Victor Hugo’s epic French novel Les Miserables which is expected to air next year.

Davies revealed that he has written the first draft, explaining, “Now we’re in the exciting bit of just beginning to think about the casting, especially the casting of those two crucial roles, Jean Valjean and Javert.”

After that, he is hoping to tackle Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy and John Updike’s series of Rabbit novels about the life of Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom.

Another novel on his wish list is Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens’ 1848 novel about the pig-headed shipping magnate Paul Dombey and his journey to self-discovery through the love of his daughter Florence.

“I hope I can persuade the BBC to put it on before I am too old to write it,” Davies said.

He also wants to write a drama charting American history through the decades since the 1960s using American writer Alison Lurie’s many novels.

“Not many people know about her these days, but she writes so beautifully – she is like Jane Austen with sex.

“I would like to do a big mash up of all her books,” he revealed.

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Sounds like there will be plenty to occupy the screenwriter between now and 90.