An inside look at the new BBC drama War and Peace

2016-06-24 05:00

Johannesburg – The hotly anticipated hit show, War and Peace airs exclusively on BBC First. 

Starring Paul Dano (Love and Mercy), Lily James (Downtown Abbey) and James Norton (Happy Valley), War and Peace is a bold, refreshing and modern take on a thrilling, funny and heart-breaking story of love, war and family life.

The six part series premieres on Sunday, 26 June at 20:00 on DStv 119. 

The epic period drama was filmed on location in Russia, Latvia and Lithuania and a lot of work went it to making it as authentic as possible to the time it is set in.

Here's some interesting behind the scenes facts on how the series came to life. 

Hair and make-up 

• For the scenes in which Anatole’s leg was amputated, 5 litres of fake blood was used. 

• For the war scenes make-up had to make around 350 wounds. 

• The hair and make-up department created 120 hairpieces. 

• The hair and make-up team got through 200 packets of tissues, 300 packets of baby wipes, 25 boxes of hair dye and 4 tear sticks. 


• Each Hussar uniform has 180 buttons and 49 metres of braid.

• Each high ranking officers coat weighs 3.8 kg. 

• 180 people worked on the military uniforms for War and Peace.

• Costumes came from a variety of countries, including Rome, Prague , Poland, Russia , Belarus , London and Lithuania.   

Military Training

• To add authenticity, extras playing soldiers were required to be trained to the standard of the average conscripted man, who would have been given very basic marching, field and weapon training back in the day. A core group was given more in depth training in infantry and artillery tactics to represent the more experienced amongst the conscripts.

• Over 500 background extras trained at winter and summer boots camps, where they learnt army formations and marches, took part in arms and bayonet drills, had weapon training and learnt about the history of the period as well as the battlefield improvised first aid. 

• Over 100 hours were devoted to training core and deep background winter French infantry troops and with all extras completing the boot camp stage in adverse weather conditions. Over 200 hours were devoted to training core and deep background French and Russian infantry soldiers for summer battles.

• Over 60 hours were spent training core Russian and French Artillery cannon teams, where they learnt cannon formations, the history of the equipment, as well as how to handle the cannons, including loading and firing. 

• Over 5000 grams of black gun powder was used to train each background extra to fire live flintlock weapons. 


• Around 30 tonnes of snow were transported to snow up three consecutive winter exteriors. 
• Count Bezukhov's bed was over 13 feet high. 
• The Art Department came from a variety of different countries, so worked in English, Lithuanian, German and Russian on a daily basis. Several were fluent in three of these languages, with one fluent in all four. 

Watch a teaser here:

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