BBC’s new ‘Les Misérables’ adaptation will be ‘completely different’ to the musical

The executive producer of the BBC’s new adaptation of Les Misérables says it will be “modern and yet respectful.”

The team behind last year’s War and Peace adaptation is now bringing Victor Hugo’s 19th century classic to the BBC, with award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice, Mr Selfridge) writing the scripts.

First published in 1862, the novel tells the story of Jean Valjean, a former convict unable to escape the shadow of his past life, and his relentless pursuit by the chilling police officer Javert.

Nick Betts from BBC Studios commented: “BBC Studios is delighted [to] … reunite Andrew Davies and the brilliant production team behind War and Peace to produce a definitive version of Les Misérables for the BBC.”

Executive producer Faith Penhale said: “It’s a privilege to be working with Andrew, Harvey and the BBC again to bring Hugo’s searingly relevant masterpiece, and his biggest achievement, faithfully to life for a modern audience.”

Unlike 2012’s movie adaptation, starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, the BBC’s interpretation will not be based on the 1980 musical.

Executive producer Harvey Weinstein added: “Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is one of the greatest novels of all time – and while the musical is one of my favorites this will be completely different. An intense and serious drama that will find contemporary relevance to what’s going on in the world today.

“I’m thrilled to be reunited with Faith Penhale and Simon Vaughan, my partners from War and Peace, with Charlotte Moore from the BBC, and of course, with Andrew Davies who wrote War and Peace.

“I think the BBC and Weinstein Television collaboration are a new paradigm in the telling of classics – they’re modern and yet respectful. And, with the exception of James Bond, nobody does it better than Andrew Davies.”

Les Misérables is expected to begin filming in 2018.