The BBC’s long-awaited television adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' best-selling novel Birdsong premiered in the UK last night, taking over the Sunday night drama spot from Sherlock. (And given that Sherlock got nearly 10 million viewers an episode – huge numbers for the Beeb – Birdsong has some rather big shoes to fill!)
Reviews from the UK are rather glowing thus far and people are throwing around phrases like “achingly bleak and romantic,” “a triumph,” and “a glorious tale of love and war.” Okay, okay, you got my attention TV reviewers. I'm intrigued.
The World War I drama stars Eddie Redmayne (My Week with Marilyn, The Pillars of the Earth) and Clémence Poésy (In Bruges) as Stephen and Isabelle, two young lovers who have a fairly all-consuming – and, yes, tragic – affair. Longing looks and angst abound. And then, of course, there’s the whole problem of the war.
Birdsong is written by Abi Morgan, who also penned recent films The Iron Lady and Shame. According to the BBC press release, the series “moves between 1910 and 1916, telling the story of Stephen Wraysford's passionate and erotic, but ultimately doomed, affair with Isabelle Azaire before the war, and the enduring effect it has on him as he fights amidst the blood and gore of the trenches.”
Click through for a look at a BBC preview for yourselves. Birdsong is slated to debut in America this Spring on Masterpiece.