BBC One announces ambitious season of classic 20th-century literature

This season of films aims to explore and contextualise the enormous changes in the way men and women lived and behaved in the 20th century. They all tell uniquely intense and personal stories about people living in Britain 100 years ago.Charlotte Moore, Controller, BBC One
Date: 24.04.2014     Last updated: 24.04.2014 at 12.48
Jed Mercurio’s adaptation of DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Ben Vanstone’s adaptation of Laurie Lee’s novel Cider With Rosie, Adrian Hodges' adaptation of LP Hartley’s The Go-Between and J B Priestley’s classic play An Inspector Calls - these four filmed 90-minute adaptations of iconic 20th-century works will be written and directed by some of our finest writers and directors.

The season was commissioned by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller of BBC Drama.

Charlotte Moore says: “These four classic works each represent a real moment in our recent history when Britain was on the cusp of great social and cultural change. This season of films aims to explore and contextualise the enormous changes in the way men and women lived and behaved in the 20th century. They all tell uniquely intense and personal stories about people living in Britain 100 years ago.”

Ben Stephenson says: “Whilst each film will stand as a wonderful treat in its own right, themes about the role of women, class, sexuality and impact of the First World War will ebb and flow across them. I hope that, viewed together, these four masterpieces will present an intelligent and involving picture of what it was like to live in Britain 100 years ago.”

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

Adapted and directed by Jed Mercurio. It is a Hartswood Films co-production with Serena Cullen Productions, produced by Serena Cullen and Beryl Vertue, Executive Producer.

Jed Mercurio says: "Lady Chatterley's Lover is a novel that constitutes a milestone of English literature. I'm immensely excited by this opportunity to dramatise its iconic themes in a fresh and original way."

An early-20th-century tale of love across class boundaries, this legendary romance tells the story of Lady Chatterley’s affair with her gamekeeper. With its original 1928 edition censored in English until almost 30 years after it was written, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is one of the most sexually pioneering novels of the 20th century.

Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee

Adapted by Ben Vanstone and directed by Philippa Lowthrope, made by Origin Pictures.

David Thompson and Ed Rubin from Origin Pictures say: "We are so thrilled to be making a new version of Laurie Lee's timeless classic that has been adapted so masterfully by Ben Vanstone and will be brought to life by the brilliant Philippa Lowthorpe. BBC is the perfect home for this cherished story and we hope it will be a real delight for all the family as we follow the trials and tribulations of Laurie's adolescence in the years following the Great War."

A vivid memoir of Laurie Lee’s childhood, Cider With Rosie is set in an idyllic Cotswold village, during and immediately after the Great War. It is an evocative coming-of-age story that also chronicles life in a rural world as yet untouched by electricity and cars, depicting a place that sits firmly on the brink between the past and future.

The Go-Between by LP Hartley

Adapted by Adrian Hodges and made by BBC Drama Production, executive produced by Sue Hogg and Adrian Hodges and produced by Claire Bennett.

Adrian Hodges says: "Adapting The Go-Between has been a real labour of love. It's a book I've admired ever since I read it many years ago, and its subtle power and devastating emotional impact remains undiminished. Hartley's detailed portrait of class tensions, sexual betrayal and emotional devastation remains as powerful as ever. It has been a privilege to work on it and the fulfilment of a personal ambition."

The Go-Between follows Leo Colston, and elderly man who pieces together his childhood memories after finding his diary from 1900, which he wrote when he was 13 years old. A nostalgic tale about lost innocence, The Go-Between paints beautiful pictures of British life, humanity and social hierarchy at the beginning of the 20th century.

An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley

Made by Drama Republic and directed by the award-winning Aisling Walsh.

Greg Brenman, Drama Republic, says: “JB Priestley’s An Inspector Calls is a timeless masterpiece that is as entertaining as it is meaningful. It is such an honour for us to be making this with the BBC.”

Set in 1912 and written by English dramatist JB Priestley, An Inspector Calls was describes a time when society was transforming, and women’s lives were changing forever. A detective thriller, but also a story of social conscience and the crumbling of rigid Victorian values, An Inspector Calls is considered to be one of the classics of mid-20th century theatre.

MO