BBC One announces landmark drama adaptation of Les Misérables

BBC One announces landmark drama adaptation of Les Misérables by Andrew Davies. Charlotte Moore continues her commitment to ambitious, high quality event drama on BBC One with the announcement of an adaptation of Les Misérables by the multi award-winning screenwriter Andrew Davies.

Announced today, the new six-part adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables – a 19th century classic and widely regarded as one of the greatest books ever written – will be a BBC Studios and Lookout Point co-production for BBC One.

Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, says:

“Andrew Davies’ extraordinary skill for adaptation will bring the world-famous Les Misérables into powerful focus for a modern audience, with a multi-layered re-telling of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece. BBC One viewers can expect the same quality and scale from the team behind War and Peace in this epic tale of redemption and the healing power of love.”

Andrew Davies will go back to the novel and delve deep into the many layers of Hugo’s story, revelling in Jean Valjean and Javert’s cat-and-mouse relationship, against the epic backdrop of France at a time of civil unrest. With a striking intensity and relevance to us today, the novel is testimony to the struggles of France’s underclass and how far they must go to survive.

Over six hours, the series will bring to life a vast and unforgettable cast of characters and tell 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.

Andrew Davies says:

“Les Misérables is a huge, iconic title. Most of us are familiar with the musical version, which only offers a fragmentary outline of its story. I am thrilled to have the opportunity of doing real justice to Victor Hugo at last by adapting his masterpiece in a six-hour version for the BBC, with the same team who made War and Peace.”

Nick Betts, BBC Studios, says:

“BBC Studios is delighted that our first drama commission with our partners Lookout Point and Weinstein Television will reunite Andrew Davies and the brilliant production team behind War and Peace to produce a definitive version of Les Misérables for the BBC.”

Faith Penhale, Lookout Point, says:

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


Executive Producers will be Andrew Davies, Bethan Jones for BBC Studios, Faith Penhale and Simon Vaughan for Lookout Point. It was commissioned by Charlotte Moore and Lucy Richer, Acting Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning.

Following the recent international success of the hugely popular and critically lauded War and Peace, BBC Worldwide will also globally distribute Les Misérables as part of its overall strategic relationship with Lookout Point and BBC Studios.


Broadcast (paywall)
BBCOne orders Les Mis adaptation

Daily Mail
The Beeb’s next big hit?  A non-musical Les Mis: Six-part series of Victor Hugo’s classic novel set to air in 2018

Radio Times
BBC to adapt Les Misérables in new six-part drama

The Guardian
BBC to make Les Misérables for TV with War and Peace team