A 10-hour production of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel War and Peace will dominate BBC Radio 4’s output on New Year’s Day.
The new dramatisation by playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker stars John Hurt, Simon Russell Beale and Lesley Manville.
The radio adaptation will run between 9am and 9.30pm, with breaks for news and The Archers.
Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams described War and Peace as “arguably the best book ever written”.
“If you haven’t made the journey through it, Radio 4 thinks you are missing out,” she said at Thursday’s launch of the station’s Christmas schedule.
Other shows over the festive period include a 90-minute Archers spin-off on Boxing Day and Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s apocalyptic adventure Good Omens.
War and Peace is the longest drama that BBC Radio 4 has rolled out over the course of a day. On Boxing Day in 2000 it cleared the schedule for an eight-hour reading of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In 2012 there was a five and a half hour dramatisation of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
War and Peace will be accompanied by a live running commentary on Twitter and a website with family trees, maps and historical trivia. R4’s regular schedule will continue on long wave.
Wertenbaker said: “I always felt radio could do something with this great novel that film and television might not. The novel is full of reflections on the purpose of life, on history, on the strategic confusions of war and the emotional ones of peace.
“Throughout the book, you feel Tolstoy’s probing mind and heart, searching, searching – radio can give you that time.”
Drama commissioning editor Jeremy Howe said the drama took almost a month to record and “had all the …read more
Source:: BBC Entertainment