Les Misérables review – merci, Andrew Davies, c'est magnifique

Liberally scattered with talent from Dominic West and David Oyelowo to Lily Collins, this mercifully song-free adaptation was a rich feast to end the year

Andrew Davies’s six-part adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic novel Les Misérables (BBC One) begins with an explanatory caption. “After 20 years of war, France is defeated and Napoleon is exiled. A new king is waiting to be crowned. The old order is to be restored. The revolution is to be forgotten. And there are no songs.”

It didn’t really say that last bit. But it could have, because the Usp of this version is that it is not the musical that long ago usurped the novel as What We Mean When We Talk About Les Misérables. “Boo!” shouts the half of the country that also likes fancy-dress parties, board games and other terrible, terrible things. “Hurrah!” shout the rest of us.

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