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DMU academics to feature in BBC documentary


Academics from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) will be featured in a new BBC programme about Britain’s best-known screenwriter.

DMU Archivist Katharine Short and Professor Deborah Cartmell, Director of DMU’s Centre for Adaptations, were both interviewed for the documentary about Welsh writer Andrew Davies, which is due to be shown on BBC Four and BBC Wales on 30 December.

Andrew Davies 2

Davies is renowned for turning novels into successful dramas and has created some of the most iconic small-screen dramas of the past 50 years including House of Cards, Pride and Prejudice and A Very Peculiar Practice.

At the age of 82 he is following his smash hit adaptation of War and Peace with another global epic, Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables, which will be shown on the BBC immediately before the documentary.

He is a visiting professor at DMU and has received an honorary doctorate from the university. He donated his literary archive to DMU’s renowned Centre of Adaptations in 2015, where it has been digitised and preserved in partnership with DMU’s Archives and Special Collections.

The film, titled Andrew Davies: Rewriting the Classics, will uncover the secret of Davies’ success and show how he transforms novels into prime-time television. Other contributors to the documentary include Sarah Waters, Dominic West, Helen Fielding and Olivia Coleman.

Andrew Davies collection 2

Professor Cartmell was interviewed about Andrew Davies’ long involvement with the Centre for Adaptations and commented on the archives of Davies’ work, which includes manuscripts, unfinished work, notes and unpublished material as well as a wealth of correspondence.

A special question and answer session with Davies was also held on DMU’s campus in June, which was filmed for the documentary.

Professor Cartmell said: “The Centre for Adaptations has worked closely with Andrew for many years and we have been extremely lucky to house his extensive archives.

“Andrew is one of Britain’s best ever screenwriters and it was a privilege to talk about his long association with DMU.”

Katharine Short, who presented some of the materials archived at DMU and read some of the scripts and audience reviews housed in the collection, said it was a great experience to be part of the programme.

She said: “The Andrew Davies Collection is a treasure-trove of information and content which charts Davies’ career as a writer and adapter and contains both produced and unproduced work as well as notes, correspondence and even doodles.

“It was a real pleasure to go through the collection and discuss items with Andrew himself. He was able to provide context for some of the documents, while others sparked a trip down memory lane that led to some fascinating anecdotes.”

Posted on Thursday 20th December 2018

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