Books & Review | Sam Goodwin
Updated: Feb 19, 2013 08:16 AM EST


BBC announced Monday that for its next project it has taken up a six-part adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace".

In 1972, BBC first attempted to dramatize Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" in a 20-part adaptation, with Anthony Hopkins playing the lead role of Pierre Bezukhov. Now, more than 40 years later, the network is trying its hand yet again to dramatize the novel in a six-part adaptation to be written by "Pride and Prejudice" screenwriter Andrew Davies. The adaptation will air in 2015.

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"Not just a great novel, it's a wonderful read and it'll make a wonderful serial. A thrilling, funny and heartbreaking story of love, war and family life," said Davies. "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."

The book was first released in 1869 and talks about Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812. It is set around three central characters, including Alexander I, who have become some of the most iconic figures in literary history.

"War and Peace is truly epic in scale and builds on BBC1's commitment to bringing audiences drama of the highest quality and impact," BBC controller Danny Cohen said. "Told over six episodes, Andrew Davies will bring his exceptional powers of adaptation to this literary masterpiece."

According to Cohen, despite the length of the novel, six parts are enough to tell its story and to do it full justice. He revealed they won't waste too much time focusing on the philosophical sections but will concentrate on the big characters, the big narrative.

Explaining his decision to dramatize this novel, Cohen said, "We settled on War and Peace because it has not been done for a very long time. It felt like going for a very meaty piece of Russian literature would take us to a place we haven't been recently."

He added: "We haven't done one on this scale for a while. There was David Copperfield, one of the chunkier Dickens' ones [starring Bob Hoskins and Dame Maggie Smith, in 1999]."

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