ITV orders new ‘Vanity Fair’ adaptation from makers of ‘War & Peace’ and ‘Poldark’

ITV has announced the commission of a new adaptation of Vanity Fair.

English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel follows the lives of Becky Sharp and Emmy Sedley amid their friends and families during and after the Napoleonic Wars.

The story was first published as a 19-volume monthly serial from 1847 to 1848, with the subtitle Pen and Pencil Sketches of English Society.

Vanity Fair is widely regarded as the “principal founder” of the Victorian domestic novel.

A number of adaptations for film and TV have been made over the years, the most recent of which being the BBC’s 1998 mini-series and a movie starring Reese Witherspoon in 2004.

ITV’s upcoming seven-part drama series is written by Gwyneth Hughes (Dark Angel, Miss Austen Regrets) and will be produced by Mammoth Screen, the makers of Endeavour and Poldark, with Amazon Studios.

ITV Head of Drama, Polly Hill commented: “Vanity Fair feels like the perfect classic to adapt for ITV, and Gwyneth Hughes’ stunning scripts bring the novel to life in a way that will really connect with a modern audience.”

The official synopsis reads: “Gwyneth Hughes’ adaptation of Thackeray’s literary classic is set against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, and follows Becky Sharp as she attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English Society. Her story of “villainy, crime, merriment, lovemaking, jilting, laughing, cheating, fighting and dancing”, takes her all the way to the court of King George IV, via the Battle of Waterloo, breaking hearts and losing fortunes as she goes.”

Vanity Fair will be produced by Julia Stannard, who was behind last year’s epic BBC adaptation of War & Peace, and will be directed by James Strong (Broadchurch) directing.

The series is expected to air in 2018.