War and Peace – 2016 style

I sat with baited breath on Christmas Day praying that Julian Fellowes was about to give Lady Edith her happy ending after all, and that Thomas would finally be welcomed back into the Crawley fold. Now that Downton Abbey is no longer with us and the last episode finished exactly how I wanted, I’m ready to move on.

It’s all change and I’ve defected to the BBC as of last night to relish and enjoy its six part adaptation of War and Peace.

I reckon it’s a winner on all counts;

  • Period drama? Check
  • Sunday night viewing sorted til mid February? Check
  • Lots of beautiful and famous actors gracing the screen? Check

But most importantly, it means that I finally will at last know what people are talking about when they reference the novel. Without having to make the Herculean effort of reading each of the 1,440 pages, or 560,000 words, of Tolstoy’s tome. Now that’s what I call a right result.

I knew that it was about the French invasion of Russia in 1812 but it actually starts earlier in the century. It was pretty hard to keep up with initially, trying to follow the five aristocratic Russian families and their super long names; the Bezukhovs, the Bolkonskys, the Rostovs, the Kuragins and the Drubetskoys.

There was a hint of scandal, lies and incest as in most historical dramas. The costumes were glorious and I loved playing bingo with all the well known actors; Gillian Anderson, Jim Broadbent, Adrian Edmondson, Lily James, Rebecca Front and Paul Dano.

The battle scene at the end was immense and hugely enjoyable. I really loved that part. But finding out later that Lily James’s character is supposed to be 13 in the book really irritated me. As did her stereotyping; she always plays the same whimsical, girly, flirty role and it’s a bit done to death now.

All in all though, I bloomin’ loved it.

Check out the trailer below (from YouTube)if you missed it and then go and find it on the iPlayer.

War and Peace will be on Stateside too, but as four two hour episodes starting from 18th January on A&E, Lifetime and the History Channel.

It will also air in Australia (BBC First) sometime this year as well as Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Lithuania, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Israel.