War and Peace (BBC1, Sundays 9PM) has attacked our screens again thanks to a 20th century adoption of Leo Tolstoy's book. BBC said it was starting as it meant to go on in 2016 and that will be good news for many.
Based in 1805, we follow families who are stunned by news that Russia has declared war on France (Napoleon). The book is more than 649,000,000 pages long, so we are guessing that the series misses out some pretty important information.
The characters in War and Peace are diverse. Probably my favourite is Pierre (Paul Dano), a party-boy who keeps having flashbacks of his previous adventures, glass smashing, women naked and sex. During the first episode, someone remarks that Pierre has previously tied a policeman back to back and threw them both in the river. "The bear went swimming around with the policeman on his back."
The debut episode also sees Pierre provide the most inspiring speech, when defending Napoleon. He remarks, "Equality of all citizens, freedom of speech and liberty. We could do with a revolution here." Whilst most are shocked, it does show you a different side to Pierre, somebody who is full of emotion, prepared to be different than the other characters and a lust for sex.
Meanwhile we meet Andrei (James Norton), who is married to Liza. He's regretting the decision to settle down and has decided to sign up for war combat. Though it's his Dad (Jim Broadbent), who provides the funniest moment of episode one. As Andrei is about to leave, Prince Bolonsky remarks "Only fools can be unwell, I am busy mauling until tonight." I really hope that we see more of his character in upcoming episodes.
Whilst with his army, he asks what war is really like. General Kutuzov (Brian Cox) says, "Awful if you're on the losing side - Like being with a woman, can be wonderful or it can be terrifying."
It's Pierre once again who provides the most questions for the viewer. He acquires a fortune and is unsure what to do. Then Helene Kuragin tricks him into marriage. He's a keen believer in revolution and doesn't believe in Russian politics, so what will he do?
War and Peace provides a thrilling show as families are caught up in conflict. There are many doors unopened and it will be interesting to see further character development with Pierre Bezukhov, Prince Bolonnsky and General Kutuzov.