The 1976 adaptation of Our Mutual Friend, long unavailable in the U.S., has been put up on YouTube. It stars Jane Seymour as Bella, John McEnery as John, Lesley Dunlop as Lizzie, and Nicholas Jones as Eugene (a complete cast list is here) -- and for some unknown reason, it has English subtitles! Links are here and here. Thanks to The Buzfuz for the tip!
In December, a concert version of A Christmas Carol aired on PBS. I DVRed it but haven't yet seen it -- it's part of an enormous pile of DVRed stuff that I'm currently working my way through! However, I did get to hear the music on CD a while back, and reviewed it here.
It had been a while since we heard anything about the BBC's planned TV series Dickensian. But this week, writer Tony Jordan told the Liverpool Echothat the show will air in 2015, and will consist of 20 half-hour episodes.
This one will have its world premiere in Northampton, England, next month. It will star Oliver Dimsdale (whom you may have seen in various period TV dramas, including Downton Abbey) and Abigail McKern (who was in a TV adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby).
. . . and I don't know about you, but I'm suddenly feeling ancient! Disney is releasing a new 30th Anniversary Special Edition of this beloved special. The website Big Picture Big Sound reviews it here.
Kelly Clarkson will star in an NBC Christmas special "loosely based on Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol,'" airing December 11.
A minor point: The Huffington Post tells us that "Clarkson's character will learn the true meaning of Christmas." Bah, humbug. "The true meaning of Christmas" is vapid TV-speak for "home and hugs and family and anything but the TRUE meaning of Christmas." Charles Dickens would have broken his pen in half before he'd have used such a cliché. And A Christmas Carol isn't about that, anyway, and doesn't pretend to be: It makes a point of reverently mentioning the "sacred origin" of Christmas, but the story's focus is on one man's redemption. Loosely based, indeed.
Forgive my Scrooge-likeness, but fake TV versions of "the true meaning of Christmas" are an old pet peeve for your Dickensblogger.
Cable network Bravo is developing a new series called Fortune, inspired by Bleak House but set in the present day. (Note that "developing" doesn't necessarily mean that the series is guaranteed to make it to the screen.)
Mr. Dickens recently showed up on the BBC children's show Horrible Histories. Check it out! According to Slate, he was doing a Morrissey song. I know squat about Morrissey, so I'll take their word for it.
(In fact, the train crash mentioned in the song took place while Dickens was writing Our Mutual Friend. But maybe it was easier to find a rhyme for Drood.)
In other TV news, the latest episode of AMC's Mad Men was titled "A Tale of Two Cities." Oddly enough, this took place while I was watching the LOST episode titled "A Tale of Two Cities." There's a Dickensidence for you.
BBC One has comissioned a new drama series called Dickensian, in which "characters from the author's novels cross paths in 'the most surprising of ways'." (More info here.) Seems to me we already did that -- let's hope they do as good a job as we did, eh? ;-) In all seriousness, I'm envisioning a Dickens-themed sort of Once Upon a Time, which should be pretty interesting! Longtime BBC writer Tony Jordan will be doing the writing.