Sebastian Faulks' World War I drama comes to BBC One

By Oliver Hurley,
19th January 2012 - 13:46
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It's taken almost 20 years - but the first TV adaptation of Birdsong finally reaches our screens this Sunday

Wondering what's going to fill the Sherlock-shaped hole in your Sunday night viewing? The answer is another literary adaptation - but it couldn't be more different to the series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch's amateur sleuth.

Birdsong, which begins on BBC One this Sunday (22nd January) at 9pm, is based on Sebastian Faulks' best-selling novel.

It stars Clémence Poésy and Eddie Redmayne (right) as the young lovers Isabelle and Stephen, who are torn apart by World War I. The couple's love affair is contrasted with frighteningly realistic scenes from the trenches.

The 1993 book - widely considered one of the best British works of fiction of the decade - has been adapted into two 90-minute episodes by Abi Morgan, the playwright and screenwriter who also penned The Iron Lady and 1950s period piece The Hour.

'Abi Morgan's sublime scripts, combined with an inspired young cast in Eddie and Clémence, bring this beautiful tale of love, loss, heroism and hope to a whole new audience on BBC One,' says controller of BBC Drama Commissioning Ben Stephenson, as well he might.

It should all add up to some more quality Sunday night drama - even if, unlike Sherlock, it doesn't result in a sudden rush on teapots.

Birdsong begins on BBC One on Sunday 22nd January at 9pm