‘Call the Midwife’ creator is adapting classic novel ‘Little Women’ for the BBC

The BBC has ordered a new TV adaptation of Little Women by the executive producer of Downton Abbey.

The classic novel by American author Louisa May Alcott was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869.

Call the Midwife creator Heidi Thomas will bring the iconic March sisters to life in three 60-minute episodes from the makers of Wolf Hall.

The official synopsis reads: “Set against the backdrop of a country divided, the story follows the four sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March on their journey from childhood to adulthood. With the help of their mother Marmee, while their father is away at war, the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman: from gender roles to sibling rivalry, first love, loss and marriage.”

Writer Heidi Thomas says: “Little Women is one of the most loved novels in the English language, and with good reason. Its humanity, humour and tenderness never date, and as a study of love, grief and growing up it has no equal. There could be no better time to revisit the story of a family striving for happiness in an uncertain world, and I am thrilled to be bringing the March girls to a new generation of viewers.”

Executive Producer Colin Callender and Sophie Gardiner add: “The mini-series is a storytelling form unique to television and the opportunity to adapt Louisa May Alcott’s novel over three hours is a gift from the BBC and Masterpiece on PBS. This is a character study of young women rich in texture and detail and it’s an honour to be able to bring it to life in this extended form with the great Heidi Thomas, one of the finest writers working in television today. In the hands of the exciting directorial style of filmmaker Vanessa Caswill we hope to deliver a new screen version that will speak to contemporary audiences, meet the expectations of the book’s ardent fans and bring a whole new generation to this great classic.”

Produced by Playground (Wolf Hall, Howards End) for BBC One and a co-production with Masterpiece on PBS, Little Women will begin filming next month.

The series is expected to air in the US on PBS in 2018.

Season 7 of Call the Midwife is currently filming in England.