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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Releases

BBC Four announces brand new drama adaptations of seminal 20th century novels: John Braine's Room At The Top and DH Lawrence's Women In Love and The Rainbow

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, and Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, announced today two new dramas which will spearhead a BBC Four season which explores love and sexuality in 20th century literature: Billy Ivory's adaption of DH Lawrence's Women In Love, which also draws upon The Rainbow, and Amanda Coe's adaptation of John Braine's novel Room At The Top.

Ben Stephenson said: "I am thrilled that two of our most exciting screen writers Billy Ivory and Amanda Coe are re-interpreting the works of two of the 20th century's most daring and honest voices: DH Lawrence and John Braine, and bringing them back into the spotlight."

Richard Klein said: "Modern adaptations are a new direction for drama on the channel and I'm delighted to bring alive for viewers these iconic, but sometimes overlooked, classic novels. They will form the backbone of a season exploring how relationships between men and women, including sexual relations, were written about and conducted.

"The 20th century has seen an enormous change in the way that men and women behave towards each other and how they conduct relationships between each other. This season aims to explore and contextualise those changes, as well as give viewers an opportunity to see how Lawrence and Braine approached the same subject in different ways."

Women In Love was written as a sequel to The Rainbow although DH Lawrence originally intended to publish them together as The Sisters. The novels chart the lives and loves of two sisters, Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, as they move into adulthood, viewed chiefly through their relationships with two friends Rupert Birkin and Gerald Crich. As the two relationships intensify the couples leave the Midlands and go abroad together, leading to conflict and tragedy.

Billy Ivory (Faith, A Thing Called Love, Common As Muck) brings these two novels together in a compelling two-part drama for BBC Four, and is executive produced for the BBC by Polly Hill, Commissioning Editor Drama, BBC England.

Company Pictures producer of Women In Love, Mark Pybus, says: "DH Lawrence's The Rainbow and Women In Love have never been combined as a single television event before and this will very much be Billy Ivory's unique take on his fellow Nottingham writer.

"Taking the two books together will allow Billy to tell a larger story, covering not just the relationships between men and women, but also the brutal impact of the First World War in transforming a rural community into twentieth century modernity. The whole area of sex and sexual relations is at the root of both novels: what we do, with whom, and why... that was what Lawrence was trying to fathom; questions (and answers) which are as valid today as ever."

The Company Pictures executive producers are George Faber, Charlie Pattinson and Billy Ivory.

Room At The Top is a triangular love story about a young man who does damage to himself and to those closest to him in pursuit of his ambition. Set in Forties Yorkshire, John Braine's novel tells the story of Joe Lampton, a man fighting to shake off his working class origins and enter the bright world of money and influence. It instantly caught the public's imagination when it was published in 1957 and turned Joe Lampton into an icon of post-war Britain.

This exciting new two-part adaptation by Amanda Coe (Margot, Elizabeth David: A Life In Recipes; Dr Who), will be the first screen version of the book since Jack Clayton's 1959 movie which cast Laurence Harvey and Simone Signoret in the lead roles.

Great Meadow executive producer Robert Cooper says: "Amanda Coe's bold screenplay of this classic novel is a sexually charged, highly emotional and tragic love story. It's a portrait of a young man who is prepared to use every weapon and make any sacrifice in order to get what he wants."

Great Meadow Productions executive producers are Robert Cooper, Kate Triggs and Amanda Coe. Room At The Top is executive produced by Bethan Jones for BBC Wales.

BBC Four's new Season will explore love and sexuality in 20th century literature.

Recent commissions for BBC Four by Ben Stephenson and Richard Klein have been the acclaimed Margot, Gracie! and Enid Blyton, which were preceded by The Curse Of Comedy season; Marie Lloyd, Margaret Thatcher: The Long Walk To Finchley, Barbara Cartland, Fanny Hill, Crooked House and Breaking The Mould.

Notes to Editors

Since October 2004 Company Pictures has been a part of the All3 Media Group.

Great Meadow Productions was set up in 2004 by Robert Cooper and Kate Triggs. The company produced Margaret Thatcher: The Long Road To Finchley, Margaret and Messiah.


Information for viewers

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