Producer: Terrance Dicks
Director: Barry Letts
David Copperfield/Episode 1/Intro by Alistair Cooke
Good evening, I'm Alistair Cooke.
Tonight we begin a dramatization in five parts of Charles Dickens's David Copperfield. It was his favorite novel and by his own admission an extended account in fiction of his boyhood and youth--something, I suppose, all prolific novelists get around to, however disguised a form.
The way in came about in Dickens's case is eerie, springing from a personal confession. In 1847 Dickens was thirty-five with seven novels already behind him from Pickwick Papers through Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickelby, Old Curiosity Shop, Martin Chizzlewit, A Christmas Carol, and the just finished Dombey and Son. He lived for a spell in Italy, but now was back in London, settled and very prosperous, and thinking of sending his son to Eton. One evening, his closest friend asked him, quite casually, if he'd ever known a man who ran a warehouse in the Strand, a bottling plant that employed child labor. Dickens thought not, but the friend wrote later: I felt I had touched unintentionally a painful place in his memory. Weeks went by then Dickens brought it up on his own. He identified the warehouse as a place he'd worked as a child and then he poured out in harrowing detail the whole story of his appalling childhood. Having purged himself to his closest friend, he then decided after an emotional struggle we could only guess at, to release this pent up shame to the world at large in the form of his next novel.
It begins with David's birth, six months after his father had died in a house in Suffolk called The Rookery--so-called, Dickens wrote, because it has no rooks.
David Copperfield, episode one.
Episode number: 1 2 3 4 5
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