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Eleanor Tomlinson and Rafe Spall star in 'War of the Worlds'. (Photo: BBC)

Filming has started on a new big-budget TV adaptation of War of the Worlds, the first-ever British television version of H.G. Wells‘ classic 1898 novel.

The three-part drama stars Poldark‘s Eleanor Tomlinson and The Big Short‘s Rafe Spall, who play George and his partner Amy respectively. They’re joined by Rupert Graves (Sherlock) as George’s older brother Frederick, and Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting) as an astronomer and scientist called Ogilvy.

And to celebrate cameras starting to roll — or whatever it is digital cameras do nowadays — the BBC has released the first photo.

And if those costumes look familiar, that’s because this new adaptation is set in Edwardian England, like a few other shows we could mention.

Its setting makes it more in line with its source material than previous versions: Steven Spielberg‘s 2005 film, for instance, relocated the action to New York, with Tom Cruise taking the lead role of Ray Ferrier, a crane operator forced to flee with his children when aliens invade Earth.

The whole thing has been adapted by Peter Harness, the screenwriter responsible for “The Zygon Invasion” and “The Zygon Inversion” episodes in Doctor Who, so he’s got plenty of form writing terrifying-escape-from-alien-invasion stories.

“The version of The War of the Worlds that I wanted to make,” he explained, “is one that’s faithful to the tone and the spirit of the book, but which also feels contemporary, surprising and full of shocks: 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.”

So what he’s saying is, it may be a period drama, but don’t expect Downton Abbey (though we think the Dowager Countess could give the aliens a run for their money).

Filming has already begun in Liverpool, England, with the drama expected to air later this year in the U.K. and (fingers crossed) in the U.S. thereafter.

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By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.