Rising stars Eddie Redmayne and Clemence Poesy have been cast to play passionate lovers Stephen and Isabelle brought together by love and torn apart by the First World War, in BBC One’s adaptation of Sebastian Faulks’ epic love story Birdsong.
This extraordinary best-selling novel will be made for the first time by award-winning writer Abi Morgan and produced by Working Title Television.
Eddie Redmayne, who plays young Englishman Stephen Wraysford, says: “Birdsong had an overwhelming impact on me when I first read it in my teens. It is a privilege to now be a part of bringing Faulks’ masterpiece to the screen.”
Clemence Poesy, who has been cast as Isabelle Azaire, adds: “I am so happy to be a part of this exciting new adventure and bring to life such a beautiful story.”
The two-part adaptation moves between 1910 and 1916, in turns telling the story of Stephen Wraysford’s passionate and erotic, but ultimately doomed, affair with Isabelle Azaire before the war, and the enduring effect it has on him as he fights amidst the blood and gore of the trenches.
This is where he meets Jack Firebrace, a tunneller who is emotional, gregarious and popular with the other men, where Stephen is closed, reserved and distant. In Jack, Stephen sees a version of what he could be as he gradually learns from him what it means to be a man, and to be a father, and in doing so he begins to make peace with his feelings for Isabelle.
Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “Abi Morgan’s sublime scripts combined with an inspired young cast in Eddie and Clemence will bring this beautiful tale of love, loss, heroism and hope to a whole new audience on BBC One.”
Juliette Howell, Head of Televison, Working Title, says: “It is hugely exciting to be working with Abi Morgan and Philip Martin in bringing this modern classic to the screen. Abi’s captivating scripts and Philip’s powerful vision are the perfect combination to create an exceptional piece that promises to delight both fans of the novel and those coming to the story for the first time.”