New BBC documentary explores the fascinating story behind ‘Doctor Zhivago’

The BBC is marking the centenary of the October Revolution with a season of Russia-themed programmes.

The season includes a brand new documentary about Boris Pasternak’s 1957 novel Doctor Zhivago, one of the best known love stories of the 20th century.

The Real Doctor Zhivago sees Stephen Smith trace the revolutionary beginnings of the bestselling book, to it becoming a pawn of the CIA during the Cold War.

Smith also explores the very real dangers that surrounded Pasternak in the decades following the printing of his masterpiece.

The BBC says: “It’s a tale of passion and fear, set against a backdrop of revolution and violence. The film is what most people remember, but the story of the writing of the book has more twists, intrigue and bravery than many a Hollywood blockbuster.”