PBS’ Masterpiece, BBC team up for new adaptation of ‘Little Women’


The BBC, PBS’ Masterpiece and Colin Callender’s Playground have teamed up to bring the much-loved Louisa May Alcott novel Little Women to the small screen. Set against the backdrop of a country divided by Civil War, the story follows the lives of the sisters from childhood to adulthood. With the help of their mother, Marmee, and while their father is away at war, the girls navigate what it means to be a young woman: from sibling rivalry and first love, to loss and marriage. Little Women is filled with selfishness, will power and ambition, and is also loosely based on Alcott’s own family.

Heidi Thomas, the writer and creator of Call the Midwife, has adapted Alcott’s 1868 coming-of-age classic about four sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March for a new 3-part BBC1/PBS series scheduled for next year. Playground’s last PBS effort was the Golden Globe-winning adaptation of Wolf Hall which aired on Masterpiece in 2015.

Thomas said: Little Women is one of the most loved novels in the English language, and with good reason. Its humanity, humour and tenderness never date, and as a study of love, grief and growing up it has no equal. There could be no better time to revisit the story of a family striving for happiness in an uncertain world, and I am thrilled to be bringing the March girls to a new generation of viewers.

Being adapted for either the big or small screen is nothing new for the March sisters. The book, which consistently remains one of the ten most beloved books if the U.S., was adapted in 1917, 1918, 1933, 1949, 1950, 1958, 1970, 1978 and 1994. Three of those remakes were BBC miniseries. The novel has also been turned into a Broadway play and two anime series.

Casting is expected soon for the story with principle filming set to begin as early as July for broadcast later on BBC1 and PBS.