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BBC to adapt Philippa Gregory's War Of The Roses novels

Red Queen

Story by Jack Foley

THE BBC is to adapt Philippa Gregory’s War Of The Roses novels for the small screen.

The plans were announced by Ben Stephenson, the BBC’s controller of drama commissioning, at the Broadcasting Press Guild in London when he described the ensuing programme as a “big, fat, old soap opera”.

War Of The Roses will be told uniquely from the point of view of powerful women who “shaped their men and who shaped history in the process” and could be based on text taken from books such as The Red Queen and The White Queen.

“We haven’t quite worked out how many episodes it’s going to be but it’s going to be many,” Mr Stephenson added.

Paying tribute to Gregory, whose previous adapted work includes The Other Boleyn Girl, Mr Stephenson praised her “extraordinary skill” in telling “incredibly textual, well-researched history, but in the most page-turning way”.

The new drama is one of several new shows and casting revelations made at the presentation, which include Sean Bean playing a transsexual in the new series of Jimmy McGovern’s Accused and Derek Jacobi taking the lead in new six-part romantic drama Antony And Cleopatra alongside Anne Reid.

Other new dramas include adaptations of Wilkie Collins’ The Moonstone and James Herbert’s The Secret of Crickley Hall as well as a further Julia Donaldson book following on from the success of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.

To be screened in December, Room on the Broom tells the tale of a kind witch who invites a large collection of animals to join her on her broom.

Next story: Derek Jacobi for BBC’s Antony And Cleopatra