Dickensian was supposed to be the Christmas TV event for the chattering classes. After all, Charles Dickens practically invented Christmas as we know it. So what could be better than a new drama featuring well –loved and well-hated characters set against the comforting background of snow, bow windows and oil lamps all caught up in a very modern tale of money and murder?
Your correspondent set her recorder and eagerly settled down to watch the first episode – would she be disappointed?
Well, yes. Having watched the first episode and the first ten minutes of the second, the recording was cancelled. The idea was brilliant and intriguing, but the execution left a lot to be desired. There were endless shots of faultlessly costumed actors walking through beautifully designed Christmas-card sets. There was endless name dropping to the extent that it felt like one of those films where the most trivial role is a celebrity cameo – I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised to glimpse the ghost of Annie Walker behind the bar at The Three Cripples or catch sight of a spectral Alfred Hitchcock lurking beneath a flickering street lamp.
And then there was the plot. The idea dramatizing the inexplicably rechristened Miss Havisham’s early life as a young heiress was worth exploring, even though Dickens himself provided the back story and there has already been a literary prequel (Ronald Frame’s Havisham). As for Scrooge and Marley, well …