The Monocled Mutineer is a British television series made by the BBC in 1986, and shown on BBC1, the first episode being transmitted on 31 August 1986, intended to head BBC1's autumn season of drama. Viewed by about ten million people, the series caused some controversy at the time, as it drove right-wing newspapers to use it as an example of what they saw as a "left-wing" bias of the BBC. The four-part serial, written by Alan Bleasdale and directed by Jim O'Brien, was an adaptation of the 1978 book of the same name by William Allison and John Fairley. A dramatisation of the life of Percy Toplis, deserter from the British Army during the First World War, it starred Paul McGann in the title role and was Bleasdale's first historical drama, and his first adaptation of someone else's work for television. The series was produced and broadcast in a period of great controversy for the BBC. During 1985 and 1986 the Peacock Committee was deciding the future of the BBC, which caused renewed pressure on it to take advertising, while at the same time the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Norman Tebbit, was monitoring the BBC for evidence of left-wing bias. During the same period there was also much criticism of the BBC's programming; a legal action was brought against the BBC over the Panorama programme Maggie's Militant Tendency, which also caused 100 Conservative MPs to sign a motion calling for the resignation of Director General Alasdair Milne and "the restoration of proper standards at the BBC".