Do you hear the people sing, “Les Mis is coming to the BBC”…
It’s been 18 (long) months since BBC1 first announced their Les Misérables adaptation, written by Andrew Davies (the man behind War & Peace, Middlemarch and, of course, Pride and Prejudice). We’ll cut him some slack – he’s had 1,500 pages to distill into a six-part series.
Now, it’s on the brink of filming with an all-star cast announced. Dominic West (The Affair) will take on the lead role of ex-convict Jean Valjean opposite David Oyelowo (Selma) playing Inspector Javert, with both also serving as executive producers on the drama.
The pair are joined by Lily Collins (Love, Rosie) as tragic Fantine, Adeel Akhtar (Murdered by My Father) and Olivia Colman (Broadchurch) as Monsieur and Madame Thénardier and Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals) as Cosette.
Bafta Rising Star nominee Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country) will portray Cosette’s love interest Marius with Erin Kellyman (Raised by Wolves) playing Éponine.
Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables is better known to modern day audiences thanks to the record-breaking musical which has been on stage in the West End for more than 30 years and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 2012 starring Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.
Davies’ BBC version will be dialogue only, without the story’s famous songs, and will delve back through the original novel focusing on Valjean and Javert’s cat-and-mouse chase against the epic backdrop of 19th century France at a time of civil unrest. It will air across six episodes with filming due to begin in February in Belgium and Northern France.
“This is such an intense and gut-wrenching story and I am delighted that this esteemed ensemble of actors will be bringing it to life – led by Dominic West and David Oyelowo in the iconic roles of Jean Valjean and his nemesis Javert,” said Davies. “In Valjean, we see the terrifying anger and resentment against society but also the tenderness that is hidden deep in his complex psyche. And in Javert, the ferocious dedication to duty that takes him from obsession to madness.”