A time of turmoil
Les Misérables TV BBC One scheduled for December
Lest we forget, before it was an unlikely blockbuster musical, Les Misérables was a novel that depicted life in France in the years after Napoleon’s defeat at the battle of Waterloo. It’s this source material – a study of redemption – to which Andrew Davies returns for a much-anticipated six-part adaptation of Victor Hugo’s 1862 masterpiece.
Driving the plot is a game of cat and mouse between escaped convict Jean Valjean (Dominic West), arrested for stealing bread to feed his sister’s family, and Javert (David Oyelowo), the police inspector who becomes obsessed with catching him. “In Valjean, we see the terrifying anger and resentment against society but also the tenderness that is hidden deep in his complex psyche,” said Andrew Davies, “and in Javert, the ferocious dedication to duty that takes him from obsession to madness.”
The cast also includes Lily Collins as Fantine, forced into prostitution, and Adeel Akhtar and Olivia Colman as the Thénardiers, innkeepers who delight in cheating their customers. The series was partly filmed on location in Belgium and northern France.
Lily Collins plays Fantine, whose life is one of many torn asunder in postNapoleonic France, as depicted in the new BBC adaptation of Les Misérables