The Bollywood version of Great Expectations is scheduled for release February 12. That's in India and Australia; I'm not sure when it will be available for U.S. audiences. At this link you can see the first teaser poster, with a shot of Katrina Kaif as the Estella character, and an image of Tabu as Begum, the Miss Havisham character. I must say, for a version of Miss Havisham, she's looking remarkably snazzy!
In The Guardian, Stephen Moss writes about how the new show makes him want to start reading Dickens again. Some of his compliments to the author are a bit backhanded, and he really needs to start his reread with Oliver Twist, because his descriptions of the characters from memory are nothing like the actual characters. He actually thinks of Bill Sikes as a "comedy villain," for instance. (I'm guessing he's more familiar with Oliver! the musical than Oliver the novel.) However, his praise of the show is sincere and his desire to go back to Dickens an excellent sign. "Only [Tony] Jordan has made me want to return to the books and immerse myself in Dickens’ imaginative world again," he writes. I hope the same will be true of many more viewers.
"There must have been some few occurrences in the past year to which we can look back, with a smile of cheerful recollection, if not with a feeling of heartfelt thankfulness. And we are bound by every rule of justice and equity to give the New Year credit for being a good one, until he proves himself unworthy the confidence we repose in him."
Poemsby Charles Dickens (Alma Classics Ltd., 2013 edition).
This is a reprinted edition of a collection first published in 1903, "edited with commentaries by F. G. Kitton." It consists mostly of song lyrics and light verse taken from Dickens's plays, librettos, and books, along with a few "political squibs" and one or two poems written for friends. Kitton's commentaries are interesting and informative, although rather limited in scope -- one can't help wishing that as long as Alma Classics was reprinting the volume, they could have added some updated material on the poems, along with the new biographical sketch at the end.
As for the poems themselves, they are, well, average. The rhyme and meter are fine, the word choices are fine, and the political poems in particular are flavored with the biting wit that social and political issues tended to bring out in Dickens. But it's deeply ironic that, for a writer whose prose was often so lyrical and beautiful as to seem downright poetic, Dickens proved to be merely adequate at the task of writing actual poems. Despite the occasional flashes of cleverness or insight, there's little here that is truly inspiring or memorable. The collection is worth reading for the Dickens completist, but ultimately it has to be admitted that, as a poet, Dickens was one heck of a novelist.
Has a non-Dickensian character sneaked into Dickensian? Our guest reviewer John Kyriacou and commenter Lesley Cookman have both written about the character of Fanny Biggetywitch (played by Ellie Haddington) and how they've been unable to place her. I consulted Paul Davis's Charles Dickens A to Z, an excellent guide to the various people, places, and things found in Dickens's works, but found no mention of her.
BBC One's character profile for Fanny is here, but gives no clue as to her identity. There are several possible explanations: She could be using an alias, with her real name to be revealed at a later date; "Biggetywitch" could turn out to be the married name of a Dickens character called Fanny whom we've only met under her maiden name; she could be the descendant or the ancestor of someone from Dickens's work; or she could simply have been made up.
Because I haven't yet seen the show, and know nothing about the character beyond what's on that page, I don't know which of these scenarios is likeliest to be true. Your thoughts and theories are welcome in the comment section!
I watched the first two episodes of Dickensian earlier. My overall impression is that the cast and crew have done a great job, and the series is a treat.
The first episode was almost like eating a huge Christmas pudding in one sitting. Too many characters were introduced and too quickly (less is more, as they say). While it was fun playing "spot the character," this whirlwind of characters might have been a tad confusing for those unfamiliar with Dickens. I think the first two episodes should have been broadcast together, in one chunk, as the second episode slowed the pace, allowing some breathing space.
The show premieres tonight at 7 p.m. on BBC One! Emily Bowles of York University will be live tweeting it at https://twitter.com/JofVictCulture (that will start at 2 p.m. for us Americans). And over here, I will publish the report from John, our British correspondent, when I get it.