BBC drama season for Great War centenary

Poppy fieldNext year marks a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War, and the BBC is planning a special season of drama to commemorate the centenary.

Lasting until 1918, the war proved to be one of the most significant conflicts in history, with over nine million deaths and an unimaginable number of casualties.

Heading up the season of programming is the BBC’s own in-house contribution The Ark, currently in pre-production and due to shoot for three months from mid-August. Written by Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations, Oliver Twist), the 6 x 60 drama for BBC One comes from the office of BBC executive producer Anne Pivcevic, and  centres on the frontline medics working in a British base hospital on the French coast – between the home front and the trenches.

A little later in the year, Red Planet Pictures – the company behind shows such as Life on Mars and Death in Paradise - is developing The Great War for BBC One, due to move into pre-production in the autumn.

The 5 x 30 series is told chronologically, with each episode covering one year of the conflict. The story is told through the eyes of a German and English soldier; the two men do not meet until the end of the war.

Red Planet are producing through BBC Cymru Wales Drama – the executive producers are writer Tony Jordan and BBC’s Bethan Jones.  Jordan said of the drama: “The First World War is undoubtedly one of the most catastrophic events of modern history with a devastating impact on human life across the world. Often, the sheer magnitude of suffering during this time makes it hard for audiences to understand the very personal pain that was inflicted on countless families and young men. “

Also on the cards is The Truth, a feature length drama from Headline Pictures and writer Richard Cottan (The Fear, Wallander). Less is known about this one at the moment, as it is still in early pre-production.

Further information on all these dramas can be found on Production Intelligence, the online database of advance production news.

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