ENTERTAINMENT — 29 January 2014

By Madeline O’Connor

IRISH actress Sinead Cusack stars in an upcoming three-episode BBC Two drama about the lead-up to World War 1.

37 Days, which will be on our screens this Spring, covers the weeks before the start of the war, from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria on June 28 1914 to the United Kingdom declaring war on Germany on August 4 1914.

The factual drama serial is part of the BBC First World War centenary season and its makers say its aim is to quash ‘assumptions about the war’s inevitability’, such as the Sarajevo shooting making it unavoidable.

In addition to Eastern Promises star Cusack, the cast includes Ian McDiarmid, Bill Paterson, Tim Pigott-Smith and Kenneth Cranham, portraying the principle players involved in the complex, behind-closed-doors politics during the rapidly escalating crisis that led to war.

From the multi award-winning Hardy Pictures and written by Mark Hayhurst the series, set among the corridors of power in Whitehall and Berlin, tracks the unfolding crisis through the eyes of leading politicians and civil servants struggling to prevent the world’s first global war.

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