Spielberg war epic finds a home in the UK

The BBC has won the television rights to a multi-million pound Second World War drama being made by Steven Spielberg in Britain. BBC 1 will screen the 10-hour epic, called
Band of Brothers, which is being made at Hatfield studios, Hertfordshire, next year.

The BBC has won the television rights to a multi-million pound Second World War drama being made by Steven Spielberg in Britain. BBC 1 will screen the 10-hour epic, called Band of Brothers, which is being made at Hatfield studios, Hertfordshire, next year.

The drama revolves around an elite US corps and involves many of the team which worked on Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hanks, who starred in that film, is an executive producer.

The BBC secured exclusive television rights in Britain in a deal signed late last week. A BBC spokesman refused to say how much the corporation paid in the agreement, which lists the BBC as co-producer.

BBC 1's controller, Peter Salmon, said: " Band of Brothers is an expensive project. It was available to everybody, but we successfully bid for it.

"We thought a lot about it. The scripts read really well. It was warm and moving. We've explained such a lot about the First World War so we thought we should look at the Second."

The series is based on a book by Stephen Ambrose, which follows the solders of the US army's 101st airborne division through training in America, the D-Day invasion, to their capture of Hitler's mountain retreat in Bavaria, which they called Eagle's Nest.

It is made by the US cable television company HBO and has a budget of £65m, a cast of 500 and 10,000 extras. The cast is mainly British, with the lead played by Damien Lewis, who also starred in the BBC 1 drama Warriors, set in Serbia.

Filming has already started and the premiÿre of the series will be late next year.

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