RadioTimes and BBC News report that BBC Films will release a new film version of David Copperfield, from Armando Iannucci and Simon Blackwell. The film, in the early stages of development, may be released in 2016. Though there have been quite a few TV versions of the story, I believe this will be the first bigscreen adaptation since 1935!
Dickens wrote The Mudfog Papers as a series of sketches for Bentley's Miscellany in 1837 and 1838, at the same time Oliver Twist was being serialized there. Mudfog was originally named as the town where Oliver was born, but when the novel was published in book form, the town's name was taken out. However, we still have Dickens's satirical essays about the political and scientific endeavors of this fictional place, now republished in a nice little paperback edition with a brilliant cover illustration by Marina Rodrigues. (Look closely at both parts of the illustration, upper and lower, and you'll see why I call it brilliant.)
This is relatively early Dickens (still writing as "Boz") and his gift for satire was still developing, so the essays are not as consistently funny as some of his later satires would be -- but they're still very funny, with a few laugh-out-loud moments. (Here he is as an over-eager reporter sending breathless dispatches during a boat trip: "Half-past nine. Some dark object has just appeared upon the wharf. I think it is a travelling carriage. A quarter to ten. No, it isn't.") The book includes George Bentley's introduction from the 1880 edition, comprehensive endnotes, a biographical sketch complete with descriptions of all the major works, and a bibliography of recommended background material. For some unfathomable reason, the editor of this edition is not named anywhere in the book, but he or she has done an excellent job.
This summer will see the publication of Stephen Jarvis's novel Death and Mr. Pickwick, which will attempt to answer the old question of just how much of The Pickwick Papers was Dickens's and how much was original illustrator Robert Seymour's. Blogger Martin Rundkvist, who's reading an advance copy, gives his thoughts on what he's read so far.
Oliver! is airing again tonight on Turner Classic Movies, this time as part of their "Friday Night Spotlight: Roadshow Musicals" event. The movie starts at 10:45 p.m. Eastern, but if you tune in about 10 minutes early, you can see a "featurette" about the making of the movie.