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A New Adaptation of 'Les Misérables' Comes to Masterpiece

Daniel Hautzinger
Olivia Colman as Madame Thénardier in a new adaptation of Les Misérables. Photo: BBC - Robert Viglasky
Olivia Colman as Madame Thénardier in a new adaptation of 'Les Misérables'. Photo: BBC - Robert Viglasky

You've probably seen the musical, or seen the 2012 film of the musical, or at the very least heard songs from the musical – but this Les Misérables has nothing to do with Claude-Michel Schönberg's smash hit Broadway spectacle. No, the six-part Masterpiece and BBC adaptation of Victor Hugo's hefty novel that premieres on April 14 isn't a musical but rather a new take on the French classic. Starring Dominic West as the ex-convict Jean Valjean and David Oyelowo as his obsessed pursuer Javert, the series is written by veteran adapter Andrew Davies, known for adapting Vanity Fair, Pride and Prejudice, and other classics for TV.

Hugo's novel has a huge cast of characters, and some stellar actors have been drafted to fill the roles. Olivia Colman takes a break from regal roles in The Favourite and The Crown to portray the decidedly less glamorous Madame Thénardier, who runs an inn with her husband, played here by Adeel Akhtar. Lily Collins is the hard-pressed, unlucky Fantine, and Ellie Bamber is her daughter Cosette. Cosette's lover Marius is played by Josh O'Connor, whom you might recognize from The Durrells in Corfu.

Watch a preview of the series here.