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Dickens and Masterpiece Theatre

Almost from the beginning Charles Dickens has had a place of honor at the Masterpiece Theatre table. The following is an overview of that history and the wealth of resources about Dickens and his work that can be found at this Web site.



Oliver Twist
This six-hour, three-part adaptation of Oliver Twist starred Lindsay Duncan, Marc Warren, Julie Walters, Andy Serkis and Michael Kitchen. It originally aired in October of 2000.

Essays and Interviews:
The Adaptation
Who Was Charles Dickens?
Stay Tuned for Our Next Episode...
Down and Out in Victorian England

Who's Who
Cast + Credits

Oliver's London
Interactive Flash and text versions

A Dickens Timeline
Interactive Flash and Text versions

Novel to Film
"Oliver asks for more"
"Nancy finds Oliver"
"Fagin in his cell"

A Victorian Twister
Interactive Flash quiz

Learning Resources/ Teacher's Guide
Oliver Twist in the Classroom

Links and Bibliography

The Forum




David Copperfield
David Copperfield, starring Bob Hoskins, Alun Armstrong, Ian McKellen and the pre-Harry Potter David Radcliffe, originally aired in two parts beginning in April of 2000.

Essays and Interviews
Daniel Radcliffe, actor
Simon Curtis, director
Adrian Hodges, screenwriter

Production Notes
Production Design
Costumes and Makeup

Who's Who
Cast + Credits

A Dickens Timeline
A Brief Biography
Interactive Flash and Text versions

Novel to Film: Meeting Aunt Betsey

Russell Baker

Story Synopsis

Links & Bibliography

The Forum


Our Mutual Friend (1999)
Originally aired in three parts beginning 1/3/1999. Pam Ferris, Anna Friel, Timothy Spall, Keeley Hawes and Kenneth Cranham were featured in this series nominated for nine BAFTA awards. It won four. Our Mutual Friend also won the 1999 Best Drama Series and Best Actor (Timothy Spall) awards from the Broadcasting Press Guild.

Interview with the Producer

Episode Descriptions

Cast and Credits


Great Expectations
Originally aired in two parts beginning 5/9/1999. Ioan Gruffudd, Justine Waddell, Charlotte Rampling starred. This series was nominated for the Outstanding Miniseries Emmy award. CultureVulture.net: "... A stunningly beautiful production... This is television of first quality, with fine performances that bring Dickens' world to life again for another generation."


The Archive
Several other Dickens titles aired prior to the launching of Masterpiece Theatre Online, however more information about each is available in the Archive.

Dickens of London
Originally aired in ten parts beginning 8/28/1977.
This ten-part dramatization of the extraordinary life of Charles Dickens, from his early penniless childhood in Chatham and London during the 1820's to the unprecedented success he later enjoyed on both sides of the Atlantic, starred Roy Dotrice as the adult Charles.

Our Mutual Friend
Originally aired in seven parts beginning 4/16/1978. The cast included Jane Seymour, Leo McKern and Jack Wild.

Bleak House (1986)
Originally aired in eight parts beginning 12/01/1986. Diana Rigg played the imperious Lady Dedlock and Denholm Elliot was John Jarndyce. This miniseries was nominated for six and won three BAFTA awards.

David Copperfield (1988)
Originally aired in five parts beginning 3/29/1988. Simon Callow was featured as Wilkins Micawber.

Martin Chuzzlewit
Originally aired in five parts beginning 3/26/1995. Paul Scofield starred in the title role, Pete Postlethwaite was Montague Tigg, John Mills was Mr. Chuffey and Tom Wilkinson was Seth Pecksniff. Chuzzlewit was nominated for an Emmy award for Best Miniseries in 1995.

Hard Times
Originally aired on 4/30/1995. Alan Bates, Bill Paterson, Richard E. Grant were featured.


Learning Resources

Timelines: Charles Dickens
This interactive, Flash-based timeline, investigates three critical aspects of Dickens' life: his personal life, his professional life and concurrent world events.

Teacher's Guide: Oliver Twist in the Classroom
Includes Viewing Strategies, Discussion and Activities, After-Viewing Activities and a section on adapting literature to film.

Teacher's Guide: Film in the Classroom
Using twenty-one outstanding Masterpiece Theatre productions (including David Copperfield (2000), Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, Bleak House (1986) and Our Mutual Friend), this guide offers ideas and tips on how to teach film -- not just as an adjunct to literature, but as a medium that can improve students' understanding of elements such as character, theme, setting, point of view, and symbolism.



Dickens & Davies:
An Interview with Andrew Davies | The Victorian World
Who Was Charles Dickens? | Stay Tuned for our Next Episode
Dickens and Masterpiece Theatre



Dickens & Davies | Production Notes
Who's Who | Synopsis/Episode Descriptions
Novel to Film | Links + Bibliography | The Forum

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