Great Expectations did very well in the ratings, bringing in around 6 million per night -- about a quarter of the viewing audience.
And speaking of GE, Jeremy Irvine offers a few thoughts about the coming bigscreen version in which he stars. I like his take on the character, especially when he touches on the theme of domestic violence. We often concentrate on the adult Pip's flaws and forget that Pip was an abused child, much like David Copperfield. (Not that this justifies everything he does, but it does help explain much of it.) I think that because there's so much dark humor in the depiction of Pip's childhood and so much earnestness in that of David Copperfield, and also because Pip turned out so poorly and David grew up into a much nicer person, we don't always note the similarities in their upbringing. At least, not that I've seen. It would be an interesting topic to explore sometime . . .
I was reading the Weekly Standard the other day and came across a mention of William Makepeace Thackeray's bicentennial, which was in July of this year. July 18, to be precise.
I felt a bit conscience-stricken.
While I've been up to my eyebrows in news about the coming Dickens bicentennial, I never even realized that 2011 was Thackeray's. That doesn't seem right, somehow. Thackeray was unquestionably a great novelist, and a friend of Dickens's to boot (very much an on-and-off friend, true, but still a friend in the final analysis). I can't help but think that Mr. Dickens himself would be sorry to see the man's bicentennial pass unnoticed. As columnist Anatoly Liberman writes, in a piece about Pendennis and David Copperfield, "Let us remember both, for both are great, and greatness is a commodity in short supply."
So I will take it upon myself, on behalf of all of us Dickensians here, to wish Mr. Thackeray a happy 200th!
BBC Radio 4's adaptation is reviewed here. And here, there are some good interviews with various actors, sound effects people, and the composer (along with a behind-the-scenes photo). If you ever wondered how one would make a noise like a guillotine, wonder no longer!
A couple of recent interviews by Dickens descendants:
Harry Lloyd -- currently playing Pip in Great Expectations -- talks about how much he enjoys both being a member of the Dickens family, and playing Dickensian roles. There's a photo of him in GE.
We've talked before about another well-known novelist in the family, Monica Dickens. Here, still another descendant who's a novelist, horror writer Mary Danby, talks about hearing her aunt Monica read A Christmas Carol when she (Mary) was a child.
Fortunate British TV viewers will have lots of Dickens to watch this week. Spoof series Bleak Old Shop of Stuff starts tonight. And tomorrow night Great Expectations begins (here's a new interview with Gillian Anderson about that, by the way). We'd be happy to hear our British readers' thoughts on both programs!
Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, we have the final TCM Dickens night of the month. Tonight's offering is the six-hour Little Dorrit from 1988, which I once referred to as "Dickens on acid." If you're in the mood to have your mind boggled, tune in at 8 p.m. EST.
The A.V. Clubreviews three versions of A Christmas Carol: the 1970 animated version with the voice of Alastair Sim, the 1984 adaptation with George C. Scott, and my childhood favorite Mickey's Christmas Carol. Reviewer Zack Handlen observes: "There’s a reason this story gets told again and again: It just makes sense, in a way that’s hard to pinpoint, the way some stories seem to have existed long before anyone ever thought to put them down in words." Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times has a photo gallery of both film and stage Scrooges through the years.
The Guardian's John Mullan names Miss Wade from Little Dorrit one of the 10 best literary governesses. Um . . . define best.
Salvation Army volunteer John Garenkooper had the brilliant idea of dressing up as Dickens to collect donations.
Speaking of donations, here's another plug for our bicentennial charity fundraiser. If you're interested in participating, don't forget to get your page set up and start recruiting sponsors. The kickoff date for the readathon, January 1, is just a little more than a week away!
On a personal note, I had the good fortune of seeing Gerald Dickens perform A Christmas Carol again, for the third year in a row. (And got my picture taken with him for the third year in a row -- see below.) He signed my copy of A Tale of Two Cities this time; I told him I'm going to keep coming back until I have a complete set of Dickens novels signed by him! While at the Golden Goose store for the signing, I picked up this adorable Dickens Village figurine. I've never bought one of those before -- but a figurine of a Dickens booksigning for sale at a Dickens booksigning? It was just too perfect!