‘Mr Selfridge’ writer says TV viewers prefer period dramas, not gritty modern shows

The man who adapted Pride & Prejudice and War & Peace for the BBC has hit out at television commissioners who try to abandon making period dramas.

Andrew Davies is the creator of Mr Selfridge and has adapted Bleak House, Vanity Fair, Northanger AbbeySense and Sensibility, Little Dorrit and Doctor Zhivago.

Speaking at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature in Dubai, the acclaimed 80-year-old Welsh screenwriter commented: “All new drama controllers [in the UK] always say when they take the job: ‘Right, that’s enough of those bonnets. We’re going to do gritty real drama about life as it’s lived now in the 21st century’.

“And they do some of that. Then people start saying ‘where are our classic adaptations and costume dramas?’

“So then they reluctantly do that.”

Andrew Davies is currently working on a new BBC adaptation of Les Misérables.