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HomemoviesNews TvBBC celebrates literary adaptations with season of classics

BBC celebrates literary adaptations with season of classics

BBC celebrates literary adaptations with season of classics

BBC celebrates literary adaptations with season of classics

The season stars a host of well-known names such as Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Sean Connery, Naomie Harris, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, Brian Cox, Sir Ian McKellen and Julie Christie

The BBC will celebrate some of our best-loved literary adaptations with a season of 14 classics spanning five decades, including Pride and Prejudice, Lady Chatterley and The Great Gatsby.

The season stars a host of well-known names such as Dame Maggie Smith, Sir Sean Connery, Naomie Harris, Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, David Oyelowo, Ruth Wilson, Brian Cox, Sir Ian McKellen and Julie Christie, as part of BBC Four and iPlayer’s ongoing commitment to shine a light on the BBC’s rich history of original, quality drama from some of the UK’s greatest creative talents.

It also features introductions by some of the creatives and actors including Andrew Davies for Pride and Prejudice, Waris Hussein for A Passage to India and Claire Bloom for Anna Karenina.

The season runs weekly on Wednesdays at 10pm on BBC Four and iPlayer. Pride and Prejudice, Memento Mori, All Passion Spent and A Passage to India are already available on BBC iPlayer.

The dramas are:

The Great Gatsby

Toby Stephens, Mira Sorvino and Paul Rudd lead the cast in this 2000 BBC adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel on the American dream in the jazz age.

Small Island

Naomie Harris, Ruth Wilson, David Oyelowo, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ashley Walters star in this 2009 TV version of Andrea Levy’s novel focusing on the lives and loves of a quartet of characters in Jamaica and Britain during and after the Second World War.

Clay, Smeddum and Greenden

A trilogy of short stories by Lewis Grassic Gibbon that relay life close to the land in north east Scotland in the early twentieth century. These were made in 1976 after the landmark adaptation of Gibbon’s Sunset Song by BBC Scotland in 1971. Fulton Mackay and Eileen McCallum star along with an early role for Brian Cox.

Cold Comfort Farm

John Schlesinger directs an illustrious cast in this 1995 version of Stella Gibbon’s comic parody. Joanna Lumley, Kate Beckinsale, Rufus Sewell, Ian McKellen and Eileen Atkins are among those down on the farm.

Hotel du Lac

Anna Massey won the BAFTA for Best Actress in 1986 for this small screen version of Anita Brookner’s Booker winning novel. Denholm Elliott, Patricia Hodge and Julia McKenzie are the supporting cast in this tale of a romance novelist on holiday in Switzerland reflecting on her personal life.

Alice in Wonderland

Jonathan Miller’s 1966 version of the Lewis Carroll classic had the starriest of casts with Sir John Gielgud, Peter Sellers, Peter Cook and Alan Bennett alongside a score by Ravi Shankar.

Anna Karenina

Claire Bloom is Anna and, in a rare early TV performance, Sir Sean Connery is Vronsky in this 1961 adaptation of Tolstoy’s classic tale of doomed romance. Long thought lost, this feature length version was found in the vaults just a few years ago and hasn’t been shown on the BBC since original transmission.

Lady Chatterley

Ken Russell made his cinematic breakthrough with his 1970 adaptation of Lawrence’s Women in Love and returned to the writer two decades later to film an adaptation of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Joely Richardson has the title role and Sean Bean stars as Mellors, the groundskeeper. The late Shirley Anne Field also stars.

Pride and Prejudice

Andrew Davies’ iconic 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic romance features Colin Firth’s legendary performance as Mr Darcy alongside Jennifer Ehle in a Bafta winning turn as Elizabeth Bennet.

Memento Mori

Maggie Smith leads an all-star cast including Stephanie Cole, Thora Hird, Michael Hordern and Zoë Wanamaker in this 1992 feature length drama, the last to be directed by Jack Clayton. Smith had won her first Oscar for a previous Muriel Spark adaptation in 1969’s Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. This dark comedy reflecting on mortality hasn’t been shown on the BBC since the 1990s.

All Passion Spent

Wendy Hiller leads the cast as an elderly widow relishing her new-found freedom in this 1986 three- part version of Vita Sackville West’s 1931 novel.

A Passage to India

The first screen adaptation of EM Forster’s seminal novel on the clash of East and West was made by the BBC in 1965. Waris Hussein directed this BBC version starring Zia Mohyeddin, Sybil Thorndike and Virginia McKenna, just two years after he’d helmed the opening episode of Doctor Who, An Unearthly Child.

The Ambassadors

This 1977 adaptation of Henry James novel of an American reassessing his life while in Paris on a mission to bring a young man back from a European vacation stars Paul Scofield, Lee Remick and Delphine Seyrig.

The Railway Station Man

Twenty years after their pairing in Don’t Look Now, Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland were reunited in this 1992 feature length version of Jennifer Johnston’s 1984 novel. Christie portrays a widow rebuilding her life after her husband is killed in a terrorist attack.

 

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