Peter Firth, Pauline Collins, Stephen Rea to star in BBC1’s Dickensian

All-star cast for new BBC1 drama

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Bafta award-winning actor Stephen Rea (The Honorable Woman), Pauline Collins (Bleak House), Caroline Quentin (Life Of Riley) and Peter Firth (Spooks) are to star in a new 20-part BBC One drama, Dickensian.

Made by Red Planet Pictures, Dickensian intertwines the realm of fictional characters in Charles Dickens’ novels in half-hour episodes, including Scrooge, Fagin and Miss Havisham, as their lives intertwine in 19th century London. The Old Curiosity Shop sits next door to The Three Cripples Pub, while Fagin’s Den is hidden down a murky alley off a bustling Victorian street.

Stephen Rea, who plays the inquisitive Inspector Bucket from Bleak House, says: “Dickensian is the most beautiful re-working of the world of Dickens that you could ever imagine. The characters take on a fresh life, and any actor would be mad not to accept the challenge these great scripts offer.”

Pauline Collins OBE, who plays the delightful, ruddy-faced bundle of chaos Mrs Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit adds: “We are taking characters that everyone knows and loves into a whole new world where anything is possible. You don’t need to know Dickens’ novels to fall in love with the stories we’re telling. It’s going to be a real treat to watch.”

Caroline Quentin, who plays Oliver Twists’ Mrs Bumble, says: “I’ve been a big fan of Tony’s work for some time and I fell in love with the idea of seeing all of these wonderful characters interact in a whole new Dickensian world. My character Mrs Bumble is quite a grumpy, bossy woman and a lot of fun to play!”

Dickensian also stars Tuppence Middleton (Spooks: The Greater Good), Ellie Haddington (Foyle’s War), Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders), Omid Djalili (The Omid Djalili Show) Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones) Ned Dennehy (Banished), Adrian Rawlins (Glue), Tom Weston-Jones (World Without End), Richard Ridlings (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes), Alexandra Moen (Fortitude), Robert Wilfort (Wolf Hall), Jennifer Hennessy (Utopia), Phoebe Dynevor (The Musketeers), Brenock O’Connor (Game Of Thrones), Mark Stanley (Game Of Thrones), Christopher Fairbank (Wolf Hall) and rising star Joseph Quinn.

Lead writer and executive producer Tony Jordan, says: “This is an ambitious and epic series for BBC One taking Charles Dickens’ characters and world into a whole new territory, in ways that I hope will delight and surprise viewers. We have an outstanding cast that will bring Dickens’ world to life in a way you have never seen before.”

Belinda Campbell, Executive Producer of Dickensian and Head of Drama, Red Planet Pictures, adds: “The scale and ambition of this series is incredibly impressive with storylines and characters that have real international appeal. We have constructed an entire 19th Century street for these famous characters to inhabit, transporting viewers back in time to Victorian London. The cast and storylines are out of this world and I can’t wait to see it all come to life in each half hour thrilling episode.”

Dickensian is now filming for transmission on BBC One later in the year.