Great Expectations

9:00pm Thursday 29 December on BBC ONE

Pip is horrified by Magwitch’s arrival and the revelation that his fortune comes not from Miss Havisham, but from a convict, in the final episode of Sarah Phelp’s bold adaptation.

Pip races to Satis House, only to learn that Estella is engaged to Bentley Drummle, who delights in Pip’s humiliation. Pip realises that Miss Havisham led him to think she was his benefactor, and encouraged his love for Estella out of cruelty – fuelled by bitterness.

Wemmick warns Pip that rumours have been circulating of Magwitch’s return from Australia..the penalty for returning as a transported convict is hanging. Now Pip must help Magwitch escape.

Pip decides he can never go home and will accompany Magwitch on his escape. But as Pip and Magwitch make their escape down the Thames, just as they reach the meeting point for the steamer Compeyson looms out of the fog, in a boat full of soldiers. He has been lying in wait for them…

The cast list includes Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham; David Suchet as Jaggers; Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch; Douglas Booth as Pip; Mark Addya s Pumblechook; Claire Rushbrook as Mrs Joe Gargery; Vanessa Kirby as Estella; Paul Rhys as Compeyson; Paul Ritter as Wemmick; Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket; Jack Roth as Orlick, Frances Barber as Mrs Brandley and Susan Lynch as Molly.

Ep 3/3

9:00pm Wednesday 28 December on BBC ONE

Pip works hard to become a gentleman under Herbert Pocket’s instruction, and his expensive tastes soon see him racking up debts.

Summoned by Jaggers to account for himself and his debts, he meets Jaggers’s taciturn maid, Molly, and Bentley Drummle, another of Jaggers’s wards. Drummle is confident, charming and a baronet. Pip is keen to be accepted into his circle and his spending spirals further out of control.

Pip is delighted when Miss Havisham asks him to visit her at Satis House, keen to see his transformation first-hand. Pip tells Herbert that he intends to marry Estella as soon as he reaches his majority; Herbert warns him of Miss Havisham’s history, but Pip is determined.

Back in London, Pip’s thrown to see Drummle flirting with Estella, but he’s reassured by Estella that Drummle will get no joy from her.

As Pip sleeps after a night of celebration with Herbert, he is woken from his fireside armchair by an intruder. It’s Magwitch, the convict from the marshes. He has a bag of dirty money. Magwitch is Pip’s secret benefactor…

The cast list includes Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham; David Suchet as Jaggers; Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch; Douglas Booth as Pip; Mark Addya s Pumblechook; Claire Rushbrook as Mrs Joe Gargery; Vanessa Kirby as Estella; Paul Rhys as Compeyson; Paul Ritter as Wemmick; Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket; Jack Roth as Orlick and Frances Barber as Mrs Brandley.

Ep 2/3

9:00pm Tuesday 27 December on BBC ONE

Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Douglas Booth star in Sarah Phelps’s bold new adaptation of Great Expectations, which forms the centrepiece of the BBC’s celebration of Charles Dickens as we approach the bicentenary of his birth, in 2012.

On a cold winter’s day, an 11-year-old orphan, Pip, runs into an escaped convict on the marshes near his home. The convict, Magwitch, orders the boy to steal a file from his Uncle Joe’s forge to remove his shackles. The terrified Pip returns with the file and some food – and this innocent act of kindness is set to have far-reaching consequences for them both.

Meanwhile, Miss Havisham, the reclusive owner of grand Satis House, has requested a boy be sent to her; Pip is to be a playmate to her adopted daughter, Estella. Miss Havisham encourages Pip to believe that he might be destined for a future beyond the marshes, a future linked to that of beautiful Estella.

Pip’s hopes are dashed, though, when Miss Havisham pays for him to be apprenticed to Joe as a blacksmith; it seems his dreams of greater things were unfounded. At first Pip struggles to come to terms with a life in the forge but, eventually, he accepts this as his fate. However, everything changes when a lawyer from London, Jaggers, makes a surprise visit. He informs the now adult Pip that he is a young man of great expectations and will inherit a fortune when he turns 21. There is one condition. Pip must not enquire into the identity of his benefactor; this will remain secret until that person chooses to reveal themselves.

In the meantime Jaggers is his guardian. Pip sets out for London leaving all he knows behind to pursue his new life, with his heart set on seeing Estella again.

The cast list includes Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham; David Suchet as Jaggers; Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch; Douglas Booth as Pip; Mark Addya s Pumblechook; Claire Rushbrook as Mrs Joe Gargery; Vanessa Kirby as Estella; Paul Rhys as Compeyson; Paul Ritter as Wemmick; Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket; Jack Roth as Orlick and Frances Barber as Mrs Brandley.

Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast, Nil By Mouth, Vincent) will star as Magwitch, in Sarah Phelps’ (Oliver Twist, EastEnders) bold new adaptation of Great Expectations made by BBC Drama production for BBC One. In his first BBC television appearance in five years, Winstone will star alongside Douglas Booth (Worried About The Boy, Christopher And His Kind) as Pip.

Due to start filming in July in London for transmission Christmas 2011, Great Expectations forms the centrepiece of the BBC’s celebration of Dickens as we go into the bicentenary of his birth, in 2012. Part thriller, part mystery, with a powerful love story at its heart and Dickens’ trademark wit and characterisation throughout, Sarah Phelps’ three-part adaptation embraces all of these qualities, delivering a vibrant, visceral, story.

Ray Winstone says: “Great Expectations is my favourite novel, and I’m thrilled to be playing Magwitch. I’ve wanted to play him for ages, I’m really excited about Sarah Phelps’ take on the story, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, says: “Sarah’s adaptation is both suspenseful and thrilling and the casting of Ray and Douglas for our visceral retelling will capture the hearts and guts of this classic to mark Dickens’ bicentenary year, especially for Christmas on BBC One.”

Eleven-year-old orphan, Pip, runs into an escaped convict on the marshes near his home. The convict, Magwitch, orders the boy to steal a file from his Uncle Joe’s forge to remove his shackles. The terrified Pip returns with the file and some food – and this innocent act of kindness is set to have far reaching consequences for them both.

Meanwhile, Miss Havisham the reclusive owner of grand Satis House, has requested a boy be sent to her; Pip is to be a playmate to her adopted daughter Estella. Miss Havisham encourages Pip to believe that he might be destined for a future beyond the marshes, a future linked to that of beautiful Estella. Pip’s hopes are dashed, though, when Miss Havisham pays for him to be apprenticed to Joe as a blacksmith; it seems his dreams of greater things were unfounded.

At first Pip struggles to come to terms with a life in the forge but eventually he accepts this as his fate. However, everything changes when a lawyer from London, Jaggers, makes a surprise visit. He informs the now adult Pip (Douglas Booth) that he is a young man of great expectations and will inherit a fortune when he becomes twenty-one. There is one condition. Pip must not enquire into the identity of his benefactor; this will remain secret until that person chooses to reveal themselves. In the meantime Jaggers is his guardian. Pip sets out for London leaving all he knows behind to pursue his new life, with his heart set on seeing Estella again.

Writer, Sarah Phelps adds: “Great Expectations is one of my favourite novels; an epic story about obsession, corruption, revenge, redemption and forgiveness. It is dark and complex, with the shadow of the gallows always present, but beating throughout is the passionate human heart. Ultimately it is a story of what we will do, what we will risk and just how far we will go for love.”

A BBC co-production with Masterpiece on PBS for BBC One, Great Expectations is produced by George Ormond (Emma, Silent Witness); the director is Brian Kirk (Luther, Boardwalk Empire, Father And Son) and the executive producers are Anne Pivcevic (South Riding, Gracie! Little Dorrit) for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for Masterpiece. Great Expectations was commissioned by Danny Cohen, Controller, BBC One and Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning.

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