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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
Battle of the drama sagas
Hugh Dancy
Hugh Dancy is the romantic lead
ITV and the BBC are reportedly facing a scheduling clash between their latest big-budget period dramas.

Both are lavish three-parters, both feature new blood in lead roles and both are written by period specialist Andrew Davies.

The BBC's Daniel Deronda is an adaptation of George Eliot's last novel, a passionate and intense love story.

Shot on location in Somerset, London, Edinburgh, Surrey, and Malta, its all-star cast includes Greta Scacchi, Celia Imrie and Edward Fox.

Hugh Dancy plays the young and idealistic Deronda, who is fascinated by Gwendolen Harleth (Romola Garai) when he encounters her at the roulette table.

Hugh Bonneville in The Cazalets
Hugh Bonneville has appeared in the Cazalets and Iris
But the beautiful Gwendolen is forced into a stifling marriage with Henleigh Grandcourt - played by Iris star Hugh Bonneville.

Grandcourt wants to shape her into the perfect aristocratic wife.

Deronda struggles to decide whether he loves Gwendolen or a young Jewish woman, Mirah Lapidoth (Jodhi May).

Uncertain of his heritage, he embarks on a quest to discover his identity in the three-part adaptation.

Writer Andrew Davies said: "George Eliot's last novel is bold and experimental for its time which makes it ripe for adaptation.

"Set in the 1860s, it is a passionate, intense love story which takes both hero and heroine, Daniel Deronda and Gwendolen Harleth, on a journey of eventual self-fulfilment."

ITV's remake of Dr Zhivago - also adapted by Davies - is one of the highlights of its autumn schedule.

Greta Scacchi
Greta Scacchi adds star power
But it faces a difficult job displacing memories of David Lean's 1965 sweeping epic film, featuring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie at the head of a truly stellar cast.

Bend It Like Beckham star Kiera Knightley, still only 18, takes on the role of Lara, made famous by Christie.

Based on Boris Pasternak's novel set during the Russian Revolution, Zhivago's story of romantic obssession is still powerful today.

Jurassic Park star Sam Neill takes on the role of the evil Victor Komarovsky, while rising star Hans Matheson plays the deep and troubled Zhivago.

The three-part adaptation, shot mainly in the Czech Republic, contains more of the book's plot than the film, but has its own ending.

 VOTE RESULTS
Which would you rather watch?

Zhivago
 50.60% 

Daniel Deronda
 49.40% 

1176 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

31 May 02 | Entertainment
14 Mar 02 | Entertainment
03 Sep 02 | Entertainment
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