|Little Dorrit 14 part BBC miniseries|
If you only read one sentence of this review, read this: Watch this wonderful miniseries and if you get a bit lost, come back here for help.
O.K. now that I got that out of the way, we can talk. I knew nothing of this book before I saw this miniseries on television. The 2008 miniseries of Little Dorrit seemed wonderful, but because I hadn't read the book (apparently a bit of a tough read anyway) and because I was seeing half episodes here and there on PBS and I had missed the very beginning, I wasn't really gripped by this at first.
After I had it recommended to me by some other period drama fans as one of the best programs out there, I thought I had better give it a fair shake. Now I can say that on DVD, this is amazing!!!!
|Little Dorrit - The Marshalsea Prison Crowd|
|The moneyed crowd of Little Dorrit|
Here is the BBC's summary of the plot:
This timeless rags to riches story concerns the vacillating fortunes of the Dorrit family. The kind-hearted Amy (Claire Foy), the Little Dorrit of the title, looks after her proud father, William (Tom Courtenay - The Golden Compass) who is a long-term inmate of Marshalsea debtors' prison in London.
But their fate is transformed by the unexpected arrival from overseas of the benevolent Arthur Clennam (Matthew Macfadyen - Spooks), who is determined to solve the mystery of his father's dying words, "Put it right, Arthur." He is sure this phrase is in some way connected to the Dorrits' plight and sets about rectifying the situation - discovering they are sitting on a huge fortune, a fact which thrusts the family into the upper echelons of society.
As the Dorrits meet a variety of characters from rich to poor, a deep bond grows between Arthur and Amy, and a dark villain Rigaud (Andy Serkis) threatens to spill a long-held family secret.
Andrew Davies (Bleak House, Pride and Prejudice) was delighted to be given the chance to get his hands on this perhaps neglected Charles Dickens epic and turn it into a compelling 14-part serial for the BBC. "It's a beautifully constructed novel," Davies enthuses. "There is a huge reversal in the middle where the story is turned on its head in a really convincing way. It's about reversals of fortune and how characters cope with poverty and wealth."
Kate Harwood, Head of Series and Serials, said, "BBC Drama Production is thrilled to be bringing Little Dorrit, Dickens' great tale of imprisonment and yearning to the screen. We hope that Andrew Davies' superb serialisation will grip the nation fast with its story of mystery, betrayal and intrigue."
And now for a little help with the 29 main characters:
|Edward (Tip) Dorrit|
Cold, stern and formidable Mrs Clennam has been paralysed and confined to her room for a dozen years. She has an extreme and fearsome religiosity, and is determined to spend her life in suffering and atonement for previous sins. She is unbending even towards her only child, Arthur. However, she displays an uncharacteristic generosity and warmth towards her young seamstress, Amy Dorrit, thus arousing Arthur's suspicions.
Bernie Maddoff is his modern day equivalent.
|Mr. Plornish (and family)|
My favourite character is Pancks with his snorting and his funny walk. Mrs. Plornish's attempts at Italian are pretty funny too. In fact all the actors are absolutely without equal in this. I fear they will never be able to do another Little Dorrit to compare with this one. I will post a link (with spoiler alert) later this week to explain what happens at the end as I fear that it is not just my husband and I who got to the end and went "Huh? What just happened????" I'll make sure that it isn't on this page so as not to spoil it for those who haven't seen this gem yet.
Don't be turned off by the number of characters. Just come back here to look them up if you need a little help. That's what the pause button on the DVD player is for!