His Dark Materials writer Jack Thorne is set to bring some of that evergreen Big Dickens Energy to the small screen in the form of an upcoming series adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities. Thorne will write and executive produce a “relevant” retelling of the iconic historical novel (which has, since its 1859 publication, sold somewhere in the region of 200 million copies, making it the best-selling novel of all time) for Legendary Global.
For those of you who’ve forgotten, the book, set before and during the French Revolution, tells the story of the French Doctor Manette, his two decades-long imprisonment in the Bastille in Paris, and his release to live in London with the daughter he has never met.
Even if you’ve never actually read A Tale of Two Cities, and I must shamefacedly admit that I haven’t (though I have seen The Dark Knight Rises so I think I got the gist), you’ll surely be familiar with both the opening and closing lines—perhaps the most famous bookending sentences in the western canon:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
Anyway, Thorne has previously adapted A Christmas Carol as a play for The Old Vic, so the man does have some respectable Dickens chops, but whether his adaptation turns out to be a grating Oliver! or a glorious Muppet Christmas Carol remains to be seen.