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Eddie Redmayne played revolutionary Marius Pontmercy in the 2012 film version. (Image: Universal Pictures)

The BBC has announced the latest 19th-century novel to get its lavish period drama treatment, and it’s every bit as ambitious as this year’s War & Peace.

Andrew Davies, the writer behind such seminal BBC dramas as the original House of Cards, Bleak House, and Pride & Prejudice (yes, that one), will adapt Victor Hugo‘s Les Misérables, the epic drama set against the backdrop of revolutionary France.

Announcing the mini-series today (July 22), the BBC promised “a vast and unforgettable cast of characters” will be brought to life over the course of six hours. It will tell the story of Jean Valjean, a former convict unable to escape the shadow of his past life, and his relentless pursuit by the police officer Javert.

And the best part? It will be broadcast in the U.S., thanks to Harvey Weinstein‘s TV distribution company. “Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables is one of the greatest novels of all time,” said the movie mogul in a statement. “While the musical is one of my favorites, this will be completely different. An intense and serious drama that will find contemporary relevance to what’s going on in the world today. With the exception of James Bond, nobody does it better than Andrew Davies.”

No word yet on an official air date, or the cast, though expect one as impressive as War & Peace’s. There’s just one drawback, or a major bonus, depending on your outlook: there won’t be any songs. That’s right; you read correctly. No “One Day More” or “On My Own”.

Les Misérables is a huge, iconic title,” Davies explained. “Most of us are familiar with the musical version, which only offers a fragmentary outline of its story. I am thrilled to have the opportunity of doing real justice to Victor Hugo at last by adapting his masterpiece in a six-hour version for the BBC.”

Now, is that a sigh of relief we can hear? Or a stifled burst of “I Dreamed a Dream”?

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.