‘War of the Worlds’ has never been out of print since its original serialisation all the way back in 1897.
It has been turned into theatre, musical work, film and TV many times since, but its most notorious adaptation came in 1938, when it was broadcast on American radio, with narration and direction by the great Orson Welles.
The first two-thirds of the drama were presented as an authentic-sounding new bulletin, and the urban myth goes that listeners became so terrified by what they interpreted as real events, that the broadcast led to nationwide panic.
Now, the original novel by H.G. Wells is getting its first UK television adaptation, in a three-part drama, penned by Peter Harness, who has quirkily disturbing form with previous duties in ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’.
The story follows the apocalyptic tale of Horsell Common in Surrey being struck by a huge meteor, and the inhabitants of Earth slowly falling victim to a vicious invasion. The three-part drama follows one man’s attempt to escape the ruthless Martians - but they are determined to destroy all human life as they attempt to conquer the earth…
Peter Harness said yesterday: “I’m feeling phenomenally lucky to be writing The War of the Worlds, and blowing up gigantic swathes of the Home Counties at the dawn of the twentieth century. Wells’s book is ground zero for all modern science fiction, and like all the best sci-fi, manages to sneak in some pretty astonishing comments on what it is to be a human being too.
“I’m hoping to follow in the great man’s footsteps by making a terrifying, Martian-packed series which manages to be emotional, characterful, and - deep breath, dare I say it - even political at the same time.”