This Week in Period Dramas – Sunday News Roundup 14th January 2018

January 14, 2018

The January blues are upon us but there’s still plenty on the small screen to entertain. This week we’re awaiting the release of two intriguing historical dramas and have received news of two big casting announcements. Are you ready? Let’s begin…

Two experimental historical dramas meet their due date

As the Christmas trees go back to the garage, the time for cosy costume dramas of bonnets and cravats is over. In its place we’ve got two bombastic television shows to enjoy – The Alienist (available on 22nd January) and Britannia (18th January). Both boast historical settings but incorporate elements of other genres so heavily that I’m not sure whether to review them on here. I suppose watching them is the only way to figure it out!

For now, there are two really great pieces to give you a good impression of each. In The Mary Sue, Kaila Hale-Stern discusses why she’s looking forward to Cary Fukanaga’s murder mystery, while Charlotte Higgins of The Guardian excellently analyses Britannia and its new approach as a blend of outlandish fantasy and genuine history. Check out the trailers below – do you think you’ll test them out? (Warning: may be deemed NSFW!)

Andrew Davies’ Les Miserables adaptation hires a cast

Andrew Davies, octogenarian and prolific writer of period dramas, has turned his screenwriting gift to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables in a new BBC adaptation. In the latest news, a cast has been announced and it features the who’s who of British and American acting talent.

Dominic West (The Affair) will be portraying Jean Valjean, while David Oyelowo (Selma) will be Inspector Javert. Lily Collins will be portraying Fantine and Olivia Colman is starring in an unnamed role. Fortunately for the cast, no singing will be required in this drama, which is an adaptation of the novel rather than the beloved musical. It will be aired in six episodes and filming will begin in February.

Vanessa Kirby fuels more rumours about her replacement on The Crown

Fans of The Crown were all abuzz with the rumour that Helena Bonham Carter would be succeeding Vanessa Kirby in the role of Princess Margaret for season three. There’s still no official word as yet but Vanessa Kirby may have confirmed it in this Instagram post –

Honoured @thecrownnetflix

A post shared by Vanessa Kirby (@vanessa__kirby) on

It’s also worth noting that Olivia Colman was rumoured for the role of Queen Elizabeth well before it was officially confirmed. I’m not sure exactly why Netflix are leaking casting announcements like this but it definitely builds expectation! Paul Bettany as Philip next? Maybe I should start that one.

Check back next Sunday for our news roundup!

More about Jen Scouler

Jen Scouler is a magazine journalist, film critic and the founder of Lost In Drama. With degrees in both English Literature and Digital Journalism, she has experience of writing for popular print and online publications. Jen is also devoted to her metaphorical novelist aunties - Aunt Jane, Charlotte and Jo are particular favourites - and is usually found with an Earl Grey tea in hand.

Speak your mind, dear reader.

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