10 January 2012 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Yoke passion and human weakness together and what do you get? A Dickensian delight

I'm allergic to urchins so have, over the years, exposed myself to very little Dickens in book, television, film or any other form. In this, as in so many other ways, yes, I prove myself an idiot. And now, having broken my Dickensian duck with tonight's adaptation by Gwyneth Hughes of the famously unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood (BBC2), I fear I may have ruined myself for any other. Oh, it was so very, very good.

It was good as a thriller – as you would expect, given Hughes's history as a crime writer – with a lovely, supple, sinewy script moving everything smoothly, relentlessly into murkier and eventually murderous waters. But it was even better – thanks to a collection of uniformly brilliant performances – as a story of human passions and fatal weaknesses. To have the »

- Lucy Mangan

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