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The Great War: EastEnders writer Tony Jordan to pen new five-part First World War drama for BBC One


EastEnders writer Tony Jordan is behind a new series following the fate of two young soldiers in the First World War.

The Great War, which will stretch over five half-hour long episodes on BBC One, is part of the corporation's coverage of the centenary of the beginning of the war.

Jordan, who also penned shows including episodes of Hustle and Minder, said: "The First World War is undoubtedly one of the most catastrophic events of modern history with a devastating impact on human life across the world. Often, the sheer magnitude of suffering during this time makes it hard for audiences to understand the very personal pain that was inflicted on countless families and young men.

"The Great War follows two young men as they struggle to adapt to life on the front line and fight to survive the terrifying events of war. The story looks at all aspects of the war - from the families left behind to the strategic decisions by generals that led to unimaginable bloodshed and the men fighting in the trenches - no one is unaffected by this global war."

The BBC has also announced a major eight-part serial by award-winning writer Jimmy McGovern about the earliest prison ships sent out to the penal colony of Australia.

He said: "In 1787 when Britain banished its petty thieves, whores, orphans and highwaymen to Sydney Cove, a place so hot and barren and hostile that very few people had ever set foot there, it was an audacious social experiment, unparallelled before or since. Yet these rejects from Britain, accompanied by soldiers, officers, a vicar and a doctor, survived against all the odds. In spite of famine, drought, escapes, hangings and floggings, the colony thrived. This is their story."