Speaking today at Edinburgh Television Festival, BBC Four Controller, Richard Klein announced The Spies Of Warsaw adapted by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais for BBC Four from Fresh Pictures.

Two 90-minute film adaptations of Alan Furst's acclaimed novels will bring to BBC Four a combination of historically located, intelligent narratives, interlaced with flawed, romantic and utterly compelling characters. Furst, widely recognised as the current master of the historical spy novel, evokes a Europe stumbling into a Second World War, his taut and richly atmospheric thrillers grace the bestseller lists right around the globe. They have been described as "Casablanca meets John le Carre".

Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four, says: "Alan Furst is one of the world's finest writers on war and the costs of war on human relationships. It is with great pleasure that I can confirm that BBC Four will be dramatising for television one of his best known novels, Spies Of Warsaw. Furst and Four are a very good fit and I hope our audiences will enjoy the result of this collaboration."

The characters of Alan Furst's best-selling spy novels roam the foggy nights and steal across the rainy, cobbled streets of Prague, Berlin, Warsaw, Rome, and Paris. Furst's protagonists join the ranks of the Resistance in one way or another. They include faded nobility, b-movie filmmakers, newspapermen, ship's captains and compromised businessmen as well as waiters, shopkeepers, jaded intellectuals, tarnished grand dames, and boozy British secret agents. Together they march in the underground army that seeks to fight back against the Nazi occupiers.

Spanning the decade from 1933 to 1943, as the Germans slowly consolidate their political stranglehold on Europe, Furst's stories are portraits of subjugated peoples who try to resist the suffocating inevitability of Hitler's regime. They show the potency and the importance of espionage and pure intelligence in the run up to the war. Furst captures the history as well as the humanity.

Richard Fell, Head of Drama, Fresh Pictures, says: "Dick and Ian's scripts have brilliantly caught the extraordinary atmosphere of Alan Furst's books. The films will bring to life these compelling thrillers set against the impending disaster of the Second World War."

Commissioned by Richard Klein, Controller, BBC Four and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning. This is a Fresh Pictures production, executive produced by Richard Fell for Fresh Pictures and Jamie Laurenson for the BBC.

Source: BBC Media Centre, October 2011