Ben Stephenson, the BBC’s controller of drama commissioning, has announced two new epic dramas from writers Tony Jordan and Jimmy McGovern.
The Great War (5×30′), ordered for BBC One, tells the story of World War One through the eyes of two young men who grow up amid the horror of war and find love.
It is produced by Red Planet Pictures through BBC Cymru Wales drama and is written by Jordan. It will be executive produced by Tony Jones and Bethan Jones.
The series – each part will focus on a year of the war – will air as part of the BBC’s programming to mark the centenary of the start of World War One next year during Armistice Week.
Meanwhile, McGovern and RSJ Films are beginning pre-production on a continuing eight-part drama set in the late-1780s when Britain deported its unwanted citizens – “petty thieves, whores, orphans and highwaymen” – to Australia.
The fictional story is told through the eyes of three convicts as they are sent on a voyage to Sydney, where they must survive against the deadly bush and the Pacific Ocean.
Talks are ongoing with distributors and coproducers, with a title due to be announced in due course.