Oui oui, it is that time of year again and non non, I haven't done my Christmas shopping either. What I have done though is began preparing myself for the onslaught of incredible TV that is going to be hitting our screens. Christmas specials a go-go, plentiful period dramas, and a few days off to really get your TV on. One of the most hotly anticipated parts of the Yuletide schedules is the BBC's version of a classic French novel. But is Les Misérables a true story?
Erm, guys I am afraid that is a non. Les Mis is in fact based on the novel of the same name by French author Victor Hugo. It is set in a time of enormous chaos and is a dark look at the struggles of those suffering from abject poverty in France at the time. The story centres around a French convict, desperate to escape his murky past. It follows him being constantly pursued by the guy who just won't quit, Inspector Javert. It also tells the story of a young mother who, owing to her desperate and terrible situation, is forced to leave her young daughter and seek out work as a sex worker.
Now if you're anything like me, the words Les Mis send a shudder down your spine. Mental images of West End musicals, school drama productions you suffered through, and Hugh Jackman singing paralyse you with fear. Yes, I am outing myself as decidedly not a musical fan, shoot me, but this is one gay stereotype I am very glad to eschew.
WELL worry thee not fellow non musical fans (seriously why are they suddenly singing?), this particular edition of a classic will NOT be a musical. OMG, thank eff for that. Finally an edition of Les Mis that I will enjoy. Also y'all, the cast is seriously good. And when I say good, I mean absolutely excellent.
The woman who has low-key managed to become more famous than the mustard of the same name, Olivia Colman is playing the not so nice Madame Thénardier, and Adeel Akhtar stars as her husband Monsieur Thénardier. Dominic West appears as Jean Valjean and David Oyelowo is playing the low key a-hole inspector Javert. Lily Collins stars as poor unfortunate Fantine, who is having a pretty bad time of it.
The BBC are keen to point out that yes, this story is a period piece, but the narrative is as old as the hills, and still relevant today. According to the BBC site "With striking intensity and contemporary resonance, Hugo’s novel explores the struggles and triumphs of the underclass and the quest for a better life."
The story has been adapted for screen by the damn successful Andrew Davies. Name ring a bell? Well this guy is a low key don of the period drama world. He is responsible for the BBC's hit version of War And Peace as well as the 1995 production of Pride And Prejudice that launched Colin Forth into the sex symbol stratosphere.
I know right, when the heck does this start and which snacks should you eat? Well the snack thing is personal, but the show starts on BBC1 on Dec. 30 at 9p.m. and will be in six parts.