Great Expectations, BBC One (12)
Out on DVD January 30th
The BBC’s Great Expectations with Douglas Booth and Vanessa Kirby followed Dickens’ story to the word, the boy off the moors who is suddenly declared to have a very rich benefactor. The complex tale follows the life of Pip (Booth) from young lad to young man and falling in love with a girl he once had to entertain (Kirby).
Directed by Brian Kirk (The Tudors, My Boy Jack), the actors, as usual, were recycled from period dramas gone by but performed to their best – you can see why they are so often given these familiar roles. One thing is for certain, though: it is not a ‘normal’ period drama. Charles Dickens illustrated these severely northern (but Kentish) children who were not acquainted to a life like that of the aristocracy then thrust them into it so much harder and swifter than could be determined humane.
The all-star cast (featuring Gillian Anderson as the estranged Miss Havisham) portrayed these complicated characters with the ease and grace deserved of a master in his field, appearing completely comfortable in this unknown world of mud and silk and Yorkshire accents.
Dark Fairy-tale, from the left: Ray Winstone as Magwitch, Vanessa Kirby as Estella, Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham, Douglas Booth as Pip and David Suchet as Mr Jaggers.