Bleak House (miniseries)

bleak-house_dvdEven while I was reading Bleak House a couple of weeks ago, I found myself looking forward to watching the recent (2005) BBC adaptation of it. Several people had recommended it to me (including Teresa), and I had had a great experience recently with the BBC adaptation of Our Mutual Friend, so I was eager to see what they’d made of it. I’m pleased to say that even with the wonderful novel fresh in my mind, I think the adaptation was outstanding.

One of the good things about this miniseries was that it was 8 episodes long. While even this was not enough to cover every character or plot twist, it did leave enough room for a great deal of character development and suspense, and only a few loops of the labyrinth had to be dropped. Andrew Davies did the writing, which was superb, and the settings truly highlighted the contrasts between high and low society.

Before I saw this adaptation, I had my doubts about some of the casting choices. In particular, I wondered about Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock — why pick an American? But Anderson’s accent is flawless (she spent her childhood in England and lives there now), and her portrayal of Lady Dedlock is beautifully done. I hate to single others out, because the ensemble cast is so good, but Charles Dance makes a marvelously sinister Tulkinghorn, and Nathaniel Parker is absolutely note-perfect as Mr. Skimpole (though there, again, I probably wouldn’t have chosen him.) Despite the investment of time, this adaptation is worth watching again, for its faithfulness to the book as well as its artistry on its own.

This entry was posted in Bookish films. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bleak House (miniseries)

  1. Kristen M. says:

    I saw a show where Gillian Anderson was practicing her accent before filming and it was quite dreadful so I’m glad that she was able to improve it. I will be watching this in a few weeks (after reading Bleak House last December) … I can’t wait!

  2. Jenny says:

    Kristen — how funny! I hope you think she did improve it! Of course Gillian Anderson in anything except the X-Files is always a bit of cognitive dissonance for me (sorry, Ms. Anderson.) But she, and the whole ensemble, were wonderful. I hope you enjoy it!

Leave your comment here, and feel free to respond to others' comments. We enjoy a lively conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.