No-one seems to make costume drama productions in quite the same way that the BBC do. At least that's what is commonly postulated by a large proportion of British #Television audiences. That theory is to be put to the test once again in the near future, as the BBC looks to produce an adaptation of another of Hilary Mantel's critically acclaimed novels. This time they are planning to bring her novel set during the French Revolution, "A Place of Greater Safety" to the screen.
Can the new project emulate "Wolf Hall"?
The new project is still in its early stages, but it certainly has something to live up to if it is to emulate the success afforded to the "Wolf Hall" series, another of Mantel's creations. At the peak of its popularity it boasted around 3.9 million viewers, which represented the best figures for a BBC drama series for over a decade. Much of the six-part adaptation's success was no doubt attributable to the stellar cast that was assembled, including the talents of Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis and Jonathan Pryce. The book itself was first published as recently as 2009.
"A Place of Greater Safety" first went on general sale far earlier than "Wolf Hall" in 1992 and became a popular title thereafter. It won the Sunday Express Book of the Year Award. Its central theme is that of the French Revolution, with particular focus on the lives of the historical characters Camille Desmoulins, Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre. The book follows the passage of time through those people's eyes, from their childhood observations and experiences, right through to the execution of the Dantonists.
Interweaved into their own narrative (as one might expect from a Mantel book) is the inclusion of many other historical figures from the period. Mantel does however attempt to not sway too far into complete #Fiction, incorporating their actual words where possible from recorded speeches or writings.
Historical fact or fiction?
62-year-old Mantel is acutely aware of the interest in whether the novels she writes are mainly based on fact or are fiction. She even added a note on the topic, suggesting that if the reader should choose to question the likelihood of something being genuine then it "is probably true."
The script is in safe handsAn adaptation is only likely to be as good as the script that is used. For the purpose of creating that the BBC have turned to Richard Warlow, who is no newcomer to period pieces. His previous work has included writing "Ripper Street" for TV, which was based on another historical theme, the murders committed by London's Jack the Ripper.