Peter Firth (Spooks: The Greater Good), Pauline Collins (Bleak House), Stephen Rea (The Honourable Woman) & Caroline Quentin (Men Behaving Badly) are set to star in Dickensian, BBC One’s 20 episode half-hour drama series featuring characters from the works of Charles Dickens.
From Tony Jordan and his indie Red Planet Pictures, Dickensian brings the world of Dickens to life in a drama populated by the vivid characters from his classic books, all of whom will meet one other in the most surprising of ways. The Old Curiosity Shop sits next door to The Three Cripples Pub, while Fagin’s Den is hidden down a murky alley off a bustling Victorian street.
Peter Firth has been cast as Jacob Marley, Pauline Collins as Mrs Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit ; Stephen Rea as Bleak House’s Inspector Bucket and Caroline Quentin as Mrs Bumble from Oliver Twist. “We are taking characters that everyone knows and loves, into a whole new world where anything is possible”, said Collins. “You don’t need to know Dickens’ novels to fall in love with the stories we’re telling. It’s going to be a real treat to watch.”
The quartet lead a cast that also includes Tuppence Middleton (Sense8), Ellie Haddington (Foyle’s War), Sophie Rundle (Happy Valley), Omid Djalili (Moonfleet) Anton Lesser (Wolf Hall) Ned Dennehy (Banished), Adrian Rawlins (Glue), Tom Weston-Jones (Copper), Richard Ridlings (Our Zoo), Alexandra Moen (Fortitude), Robert Wilfort (Wolf Hall), Jennifer Hennessy (Utopia), Phoebe Dynevor (The Musketeers), Brenock O’Connor (Game Of Thrones), Mark Stanley (Game Of Thrones), Christopher Fairbank (Wolf Hall) and Joseph Quinn.
“The fine cast assembled for BBC One’s Dickensian reflect the creative ambition of this 20 part series”, said BBC One Controller Charlotte Moore. “Viewers will be invited into a world populated by many of literature’s most iconic characters and see their lives intertwine in a unique and surprising story told on an epic scale.”
Red Planet Pictures co-founder Tony Jordan, who is also deep in development on Legion for UKTV, leads the writing team, which also includes Sarah Phelps, Simon Winstone, Julie Rutterford, Chloe Moss and Justin Young. Jordan and Belinda Campbell and Polly Hill serve as executive producers on Dickensian, which began filming earlier this week on a set that features a 90 metre cobbled high street with a fully functioning pub at one end and a 16 column colonnade, church and law courts at the other.
“The scale and ambition of this series is incredibly impressive with storylines and characters that have real international appeal”, added Executive Producer and Red Planet Pictures’ Head of Drama Belinda Campbell. “We have constructed an entire 19th Century street for these famous characters to inhabit, transporting viewers back in time to Victorian London. The cast and storylines are out of this world and I can’t wait to see it all come to life in each half hour thrilling episode.”