Culture Street

The Night Manager and War and Peace, both popular BBC book adaptations, have been much talked about on social media. They were both released at the beginning of this year and quickly gained a massive audience. In both cases young men on the precipice of super stardom played the central characters. But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for these two successful BBC dramas.

High Laurie took an interest in The Night Manager in 1993 after reading John Le Carre’s novel. Back then he could have played the enigmatic Christopher Pine. But his attempt to gain the rights was thwarted by Hollywood who had Brad Pitt in mind to play Pine. Luckily for Tom Hiddleston Hollywood unusually fell through and the rights were retrieved. Sadly for Hugh Laurie he no longer had youth on his side to play the athletic Pine. Instead he had to make do with the villain Roper. After spending £30 million on the series we finally got to see the blockbuster and what a treat it was. If you missed it you can watch it right here.

War and Peace (Tolstoy) had an easier start with Andrew Davies (Pride and Prejudice – the Colin Firth one) quickly attached to the project. It didn’t quite have the budget of The Night Manager but £12 million is not too shabby. It took two years to make the film and included locations in three different countries. Young talent was quickly sourced and attached to the project with Lily James (Downton Abbey) and James Norton (Happy Valley) headlining a stellar cast. The biggest challenge was adapting a 600,000-word novel into six episodes. There are a number of omissions but the scenery, costumes and battle scenes are spectacular. If you missed it you can watch it here.

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