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As seen on BBC1, 27th, 28th and 29th December.

Visually stunning, nicely cast (David Suchet as Jaggers and Ray Winstone’s Magwich were especially good), but there was way too much monkeying with the plot and Dickens’ immortal dialogue (would Mr Dickens really have written ‘the law’s a bastard’?), to the extent that the whole point of this tale about redemption was completely lost.

Where was Biddy and the Aged P? And whatever happened to poor, simple Joe Gargery, where ever did that tone of dark, brooding resentment come from? Why was Pip so much prettier than Estella?

And that ending…? I’d heard it was supposed to bridge Dickens’ original, bleak finish and the later, happier revision his publishers made him write, but it was neither; not micklin nor mucklin either, just a silly, pretend-enigmatic fade to nowt.

Disappointing, but what do you expect when you allow soap writers to tinker with genius?

The BBC’s Great Expectations website.

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