Sir Tom Stoppard returns to British television with Parade’s End for BBC Two

Productions July 29, 2010

Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, announced today that BBC Two will bring Ford Madox Ford’s masterpiece, Parade’s End, to the screen next year. It will be adapted by the highly acclaimed British playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, directed by Bafta-winning Susanna White and made by Mammoth Screen through BBC Wales Drama.

Stoppard returns to British television after 20 years with this five-hour commission considered by many as one of the great undiscovered works of the 20th century.

Sir Tom Stoppard says: “The BBC came to me with the idea of adapting Ford’s novel for TV two years ago. I had never read it and I fell in love with it. Parade’s End has been my main pre-occupation since then. The title covers a quartet of books set among the upper class in Edwardian England, mostly from 1911 to the end of the Great War. I spent about 18 months on the dramatisation of the novel into five 60-minute episodes, working with the BBC producer Piers Wenger and with Damien Timmer of Mammoth, the independent production company. I confess I feel a bit proud of it, and now that Susanna White has come on board to direct Parade’s End I’m thoroughly excited about it.”

This announcement further demonstrates BBC Two’s commitment to re-establish its reputation as the home of intelligent and ambitious drama reflecting the new strategy and investment for drama on the channel.

Set between the twilight of the Edwardian era and the end of the First World War, Parade’s End’s biggest pre-occupation is a love triangle between English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens, his beautiful but cruel wife Sylvia and Valentine Wannop, a young suffragette who he falls madly in love with.

Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “Tom Stoppard is without a doubt one of the world’s finest writers and we are thrilled to welcome him back to the BBC with his extraordinary and witty take on a complex novel.”

Damien Timmer, joint managing director and executive producer, Mammoth Screen, says: “It’s a great privilege to work with Tom Stoppard on his dazzling adaptation of Parade’s End. It’s a hugely ambitious project, and with brilliant director Susanna White at the helm, we’re hoping to attract a stellar cast in what will be a unique television event.”

Piers Wenger, executive producer, BBC Wales Drama says: “Parade’s End is Ford Madox Ford’s masterpiece and the BBC is immensely privileged to have a dramatist of Sir Tom Stoppard’s extraordinary calibre to bring it to life.”

Michele Buck, joint managing director and executive producer, Mammoth Screen, says: “To make such a prestigious project as Parade’s End demonstrates the range of Mammoth Screen’s drama slate, and our commitment to working with the very best talent.”

Executive producers for Mammoth are Damien Timmer and Michele Buck and Piers Wenger for BBC Wales. Parade’s End will be directed by award-winning director Susanna White (Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang, Generation Kill, Bleak House) and commissioned by Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two, and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning.