Masterpiece Theater Classic Presents Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens on 3/29/09

Masterpiece Classics is featuring a series of Charles Dickens books brought to life on film, giving them a bit more grit and accuracy than perhaps other versions. Hopefully you have seen the interviews with Andrew Davies, the noted screenwriter who has done numerous films and BBC presentations and Timothy Spall, best known perhaps for his work in Harry Potter but a well-respected actor and a very funny man.
One of Charles Dickens greatest love stories also has the timely theme of chronic debt and financial collapse. Adapted by screenwriter extraordinaire Andrew Davies (Bleak House, Pride and Prejudice), the five-part miniseries stars
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Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley) as hero Arthur Clennam,
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newcomer Claire Foy as Amy “Little” Dorrit, and Tom Courtenay (The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner) as her father, who has been incarcerated for 25 years for insolvency. Scores of other great actors appear in this moving tale that was particularly close to Dickens’ heart, since his own father did time in debtor’s prison.
This is a five part series that is worth making sure you see or have set up on your DVR. This deeply felt, extraordinarily well-acted story is truly timely and yet well-set in its era. The dynamics of Claire Foy as Little Dorrit as played against the other members of her family and those surrounding her in Marshalsea debtor’s prison and how her life is during that time and how things and people change as certain incredible events occur that radically change the lives of many people.
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The Dorrit Family
Given that the events that occur in this series are a direct reflection on today’s current economic climate, one can see a cause and effect that Dickens saw during his own time and it’s truly a historical trend.
The love story is the quiet theme in the backdrop and you might not even see it if it weren’t for Foy’s amazng gift of telling her story via her own facial expression. Matthew Macfadyen is fabulous as one of the protagonists and how he deals with his own mother (his father having just died) and how the way various family dynamics work out — both for him and also for Amy Dorrit.
The Dorrit family and the Clennam family lives and future are mysteriously interwoven in this masterful tale that will have you dying for the next epsiode. I watched the 3 episodes in a row and was mesmerized by the story and the acting. The scenery and costuming is fabulous and the supporting actors are excellent. The Venice scenes are truly incredible and make you feel like you are there right along with the characters.


CAST LIST
Amy Dorrit…………………………………. Claire Foy
Arthur Clennam………………………….. Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice)
William Dorrit…………………………….. Tom Courtenay (The Golden Compass)
Jeremiah/Ephraim Flintwinch……….. Alun Armstrong (Bleak House)
Rigaud………………………………………… Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings)
Fanny Dorrit……………………………….. Emma Pierson
Pancks………………………………………… Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky)
Mr Meagles…………………………………. Bill Paterson (Wives and Daughters)
Affery Flintwinch………………………… Sue Johnston
John Chivery……………………………….. Russell Tovey (The History Boys)
Mrs Clennam………………………………. Judy Parfitt (Girl with a Pearl Earring)
Pet Meagles…………………………………. Georgia King (The Duchess)
Frederick Dorrit…………………………… James Fleet (Four Weddings and a Funeral)
Cavalletto……………………………………. Jason Thorpe
Tattycoram………………………………….. Freema Agyeman
Henry Gowan……………………………… Alex Wyndham
Mrs Meagles………………………………… Janine Duvitski
Edmund Sparkler………………………….. Sebastian Armesto
Maggy…………………………………………. Eve Myles
Mr Chivery…………………………………… Ron Cook
Mr Merdle……………………………………. Anton Lesser
Harris…………………………………………… Mackenzie Crook
Mrs Merdle…………………………………… Amanda Redman
Tite Barnacle…………………………………. Robert Hardy (Harry Potter)
Flora Finching……………………………….. Ruth Jones (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)
Mr F’s Aunt………………………………….. Annette Crosbie
Tite Barnacle Jnr…………………………… Darren Boyd
Miss Wade…………………………………… Maxine Peake
No spoilers here, this is a series not to be missed. The series starts March 29, 2009, 9 to 11pm ET/PT on PBS
Little Dorrit is a BBC/WGBH Boston coproduction. It was adapted by Andrew Davies from the novel by Charles Dickens. The directors are Dearbhla Walsh, Adam Smith, and Diarmuid Lawrence. The producer is Anne Pivcevic. The executive producers are Kate Harwood for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for WGBH. MASTERPIECE has been presented on PBS by WGBH since 1971. Rebecca Eaton is executive producer. Laura Linney is the host of MASTERPIECE CLASSIC. Public television viewers provide funding for MASTERPIECE.
Thank you to Olivia Wong, WGBH for arranging this interview series.
Stevie Wilson

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