Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is the latest writer to tackle Dickens for the small screen, penning a dark, gritty, and sweary adaptation of A Christmas Carol with Guy Pearce and Stephen Graham. But he’s not stopping there; in fact, he’s leading an entire slew of new Dickens adaptations for the BBC and FX – each imposing that sooty cinematic style which made his name in British TV. And now, the BBC have announced his next project: Great Expectations.
What's the story of Great Expectations?
The story, first released in 1861, follows the life of the orphan Pip as he’s lifted from his working-class upbringing in Kent and placed into the higher echelons of London society. It’s a familiar, Dickensian structure that British culture has stolen ever since – highlighting the troubles and prejudices in the class system. After years of expecting to work under his adopted father, a blacksmith, Pip is told he’s come into large fortune from an anonymous benefactor: thus allowing him to become a gentleman.
Steven Knight is the son of a blacksmith himself, and so has an emotional connection to the story: ‘Pip’s journey from the forge into society is a very special one to me’.
Who's in the Great Expectations cast?
There’s been no word yet on casting, though we have a few ideal candidates in mind. Since Tom Hardy is producing this series, and has starred in other Knight projects like Peaky Blinders and Taboo, he would be perfect for the escaped convict Magwitch, who proves a coercive presence in Pip’s life.
Then there’s Miss Havisham, the jilted lover who spends days in her cobwebbed-filled mansion wearing her decrepit wedding dress. She was already perfectly cast in the 2012 film adaptation with Helena Bonham Carter, but it’s easy to see Anna Maxwell Martin in the same dress, her Line of Duty sternness gracing the role.
What's the Great Expectations release date?
Given the lockdown, the release won't be anytime soon. And, if Great Expectations is going to conform to Steven Knight's cinematic standard, making everything look amazing will take time, too.
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