Sarah Waters' The Night Watch on BBC Two
Pembrokeshire-born author Sarah Waters has had another of her hugely popular novels adapted for the screen by the BBC.
The Night Watch is the latest of her works to be modified for television, and can be seen on BBC Two tomorrow evening at 9pm. Two of her previous novels, Tipping The Velvet and Fingersmith, have both previously been adapted by the BBC.
Sarah Waters. Photo © Charlie Hopkinson
The novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Orange Prize for Fiction and the 2007 British Book Awards Book of the Year.
The Night Watch is a departure from the familiar Victorian period usually associated with Waters' historical novels, this time to the 1940s and the wartime era in Britain. The novel, which works backwards through the 1940s, tells the story of four Londoners. As it states on Waters' official website:
"Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching. Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret. Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover. Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances."
Like Waters' other novels, female and particularly lesbian relationships feature prominently, and the strong female characters in the novel have been matched in the casting of brilliant British actors for the roles.
Anna Maxwell-Martin, who was superb in another recent BBC drama South Riding, stars alongside Claire Foy, Jodie Whittaker and Anna Wilson-Jones. The cast also includes Harry Treadaway, JJ Field (who starred in the made-in-Wales film Third Star) and Liam Garrigan.
Claire Foy (Helen) and Anna Maxwell Martin (Kay) in The Night Watch. Photo: BBC/John Rogers
Jodie Whittaker as Viv in The Night Watch. Photo: BBC/John Rogers
Read a great blog post about the programme over on the BBC TV Blog by Martin Boddinson, the production designer on The Night Watch.
In his post Martin talks about the challenge of having to turn the interior stage sets of Lark Rise To Candleford into sets for The Night Watch in just a matter of weeks. He also talks about the various exterior filming locations used and the minute details that have to be researched on such a project to get the interiors, exteriors and even the props perfect, from "the sandbags that will line the streets, even down to the street signs".
The Night Watch is on BBC Two at 9pm tomorrow night, Tuesday 12 July, and on the BBC iPlayer for the following seven days.