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Rival ‘War of the Worlds’ shows to battle it out on TV

Two big-budget versions of HG Wells’ alien invasion classic “War of the Worlds” are set to hit the small screen soon.

Britain’s BBC is to broadcast a three-part mini-series based on the book later this year starring Eleanor Tomlinson of “Poldark” fame as well a Robert Carlyle and Rupert Graves.

A rival longer-running adaptation with Irish-born Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne and Elisabeth McGovern of “Downton Abbey” was launched Monday at MIPCOM, the world’s biggest television and streaming market which is meeting in Cannes, southern France.

While the BBC series is set in the same Edwardian period as the book, the CanalPlus and Fox Networks retelling plays out in the present day, executives said.

Byrne said the story is hugely timely as humanity is facing environmental disaster in climate change “but doing little about it”.

“The danger is coming from within,” this time rather than from aliens, Byrne told the Hollywood Reporter.

“People have an incredible ability to deny the truth — that it won’t happen here, that it won’t happen within my lifetime.”

The book was famously adapted for US radio in 1938 by Orson Welles, setting off a panic that the planet was really being invaded by aliens.



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