Friday 6 April 2018

BBC begins filming The War of the Worlds

Jeff Wayne's musical version of The War of the Worlds introduced a generation (myself included) to H.G. Wells' classic alien invasion story-cum-essay on cultural imperialism 40 years ago.

I devoured further adaptations including Hollywood's anti-communist allegory produced during the McCarthy era, Orson Welles' infamous radio broadcast from 1938 and latterly Steven Spielberg's post 9/11 take on an alien invasion. However, I've always lamented never seeing Wells' apocalyptic vision set in the Edwardian era. Until now.

The BBC has begun filming a 3-part miniseries in Liverpool, starring Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, Loving Vincent) and Rafe Spell (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, The Big Short), for broadcast later this year on BBC One.

Eleanor Tomlinson says: “I’m delighted to be taking on the Martians with Rafe Spall in Mammoth Screen’s adaptation of The War Of The Worlds. I’ve been a fan of Craig Viveiros’ work for a while, so creating this world with him at the helm is very exciting.”

Rafe Spall says: “I am thrilled to be a part of bringing this much-loved story to the small screen. I couldn’t be in better company with Craig Viveiros, Peter Harness, all at Mammoth Screen and of course, the very talented Eleanor Tomlinson.”

Damien Timmer, Executive Producer of Mammoth Screen, says: "Here we are, making the original and best alien invasion story for the BBC One audience - it doesn't get much better than this! With a stellar cast and some very scary Martians up our sleeve we look forward to terrifying large sections of the audience soon!"

Tommy Bulfin, BBC Commissioning Editor, says: "It’s fantastic to have Rafe and Eleanor leading such a brilliant cast of British acting talent in the BBC's faithful adaptation of H.G. Wells' legendary story."

Craig Viveiros, Director, says: “H.G. Wells' seminal novel has been adapted for the screen many times but it's always had a contemporary (and American) setting, this is the first version to be set in London and the Home Counties during the Edwardian period. Peter's scripts manage to honour the source material with great skill, but we aim to provide a thoroughly modern thrill ride for the audience, delivering an alien invasion story that will shock and awe audiences across the globe.”

Peter Harness says: "The version of The War of the Worlds that I wanted to make is one that's faithful to the tone and the spirit of the book, but which also feels contemporary, surprising and full of shocks: a collision of sci-fi, period drama and horror. There is nothing cosy or predictable about Wells’ novel, and that’s what I want to capture in the show. We have an incredible cast, a brilliant director and a wonderful crew - and I can’t wait for them to explode the terrifying story of the first alien invasion on to our screens.”

If The War of the Worlds evokes the BBC's nightmarish adaptation of The Day of the Triffids (1981), sci-fi fans of all ages are in for a terrifying treat.

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