BBC’s first trailer for H.G. Wells “War Of The Worlds” released

The BBC has dropped its first trailer for its long awaited three-part War Of The Worlds drama, expected to head to BBC One at the end of October – although a transmission date has yet to be confirmed.

Filmed last year, with location work in Liverpool and elsewhere, The War of the Worlds is a major adaptation by Peter Harness of H.G. Wells’ classic SF title, following a young couple’s race for survival against escalating terror of an alien enemy beyond their comprehension. Staring Rafe Spall, Eleanor Tomlinson and Robert Carlyle this major new three-part drama is produced by Mammoth Screen for BBC One, and directed by award-winning director Craig Viveiros.

“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,” said Harness last year, “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.”

War Of The Worlds - BBC One - 2019

Image: BBC

Set in Edwardian England, this new adaptation of H.G. Wells’ seminal tale follows George (played by Rafe Spall) and his partner Amy (Eleanor Tomlinson) as they attempt to defy society and start a life together. Rupert Graves plays Frederick, George’s elder brother, and Robert Carlyle plays Ogilvy, an astronomer and scientist. The War of the Worlds tells their story as they face the escalating terror of an alien invasion, fighting for their lives against an enemy beyond their comprehension.

“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,” noted director Craig Viveiros. “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.”

First published in 1897, serialised in 1897 by Pearson’s Magazine in Britain and by Cosmopolitan magazine in the US, The War of the Worlds has been adapted into numerous media, including the stage and even a musical, by Jeff Wayne. Versions has been produced for comics, TV and film, and Stephen Baxter has written authorised sequels to the original work, beginning in The Massacre of Mankind, published in 2017.

Scarlet Traces: A War of the Worlds AnthologyIn comics, Scarlet Traces, a steampunk continuation of  The War of the Worlds written by Ian Edginton and drawn by D’Israeli, first published online before being serialised in 2002, in Judge Dredd Megazine, has proven a huge hit, continuing in 2000AD. An anthology of short stories, based on the world of Scarlet Traces, was published earlier this month.

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2 replies

  1. The Edwardian setting is a good choice, since the novel anticipates the lasers and poison gas which were to be used in the 1914-18 war.

  2. I’m less happy about turning it into a romantic adventure. The original novel has the narrator parting from his wife not long after the Martians invade, and surviving as a man alone with no permanent relationships or friendships during his ordeal until he is united with his wife in the final chapter. Wells was well able to write about romantic and personal relations, so his artistic integrity ought to have been respected – though it appears that the adaptor may be delving into H.G’s autobiography here, so the changes may ring true. Plenty of scope for CGI here.

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