The BBC One is developing 11 new high-end dramas including a television adaptation of The War of the Worlds based on the classic sci-fi novel by H.G. Wells.
Poldark and Victoria producers Mammoth Screen will produce the three-part series adapted by Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell writer Peter Harness. Similar to the 1898 novel as well as both the 1953 and 2005 feature film adaptations — the latter of which was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Tom Cruise — the first ever British television adaptation will follow the inhabitants of Earth during an alien invasion, set in Surrey, England, the original novels victorian setting. Production is expected to begin early next year.
Harness shared his excitement to be involved with The North-West Evening Mail as he confirmed the new show’s setting:
“I’m feeling phenomenally lucky to be writing The War Of The Worlds and blowing up gigantic swathes of the home counties at the dawn of the 20th Century. Wells’ book is ground zero for all modern science fiction, and like all the best sci-fi, manages to sneak in some pretty astonishing comments on what it is to be a human being too.”
Harness added that he hopes to follow in Wells’ footsteps and bring politics into the sci-fi thriller:
“I’m hoping to follow in the great man’s footsteps by making a terrifying, Martian-packed series which manages to be emotional, characterful, and – deep breath, dare I say it – even political at the same time.”
Mammoth Screen managing director Damien Timmer also confirmed that the television adaptation will follow the original novel closer that any other adaptation yet.
“It’s a great honour to bring HG Wells’ masterpiece to BBC One. This huge title – the original alien invasion story – has been loosely adapted and riffed on countless times, but no-one has ever attempted to follow Wells and locate the story in Dorking at the turn of the last century.”
Timmer also expressed that he hopes the new series will become the definitive adaptation of the classic novel. Of course, The War of the Worlds is best known for the Halloween episode of the American radio drama series The Mercury Theatre on the Air that aired in 1938 on the Columbia Broadcasting System which caused those listening to panic as they believed the invasion was real. The episode itself was directed and narrated by Orson Welles.
So what do you think? Are you excited for what sounds like it could be the truest take on Wells’ novel yet? Let us know in the comments below.