David's tyrannical stepfather practices what he calls "firm discipline" -- in fact, it is a brutal and violent cruelty. His repressive reign of terror leads to the death of Clara and his appearance in David's life spells the end of an idyllic childhood.
"The Murdstones? Nice couple," observes Trevor Eve, who sees Murdstone as something of a sexual predator, a little akin to his role in The Politician's Wife. "I suppose when Dickens didn't like a character, he really didn't like them. These two are unrelentingly horrible. Dickens gives a totally black image of this evil man. But there is an indication in the novel that he did have great feeling for Clara. I don't think Edward's just a heartless human being. Clara and I do play footsie in one scene but it's only two seconds of screen time, so if anyone goes out to put the kettle on, they've missed it."
These days you're likely to find Eve at work with his wife, actress Sharon Maughan, in the offices of their production company. He says the company has given him a new career direction. He loves producing, and he'll do it while continuing with his acting.