Young Nicholas Nickleby sets out to make his fortune in order to prevent his mother and sister from depending upon his uncle, Ralph Nicklby. But he finds his first job as master at a ... See full summary »




Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Nicholas Nickleby (TV Mini-Series 1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After the death of his father, Nicholas Nickleby along with his sister Kate and their mother find themselves in difficult conditions. They relocate to London in the hope that Uncle Ralph ... See full summary »

Stars: Nigel Havers, Peter Bourke, Derek Godfrey
Brideshead Revisited (TV Mini-Series 1981)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

An aristocratic English family is shown in the years between the Great War and The Second World War, often at the crumbling family estate, Brideshead Manor, trying to deal with family ... See full summary »

Stars: Jeremy Irons, Diana Quick, Roger Milner
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Nicholas Nickleby is an impoverished young man making his way in life in the cruel and unjust world of early Victorian England. His good looks, kind heart and gentlemanly manner are fine ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Whittaker
Stars: John Dallimore, James D'Arcy, Sophia Myles
Hard Times (TV Mini-Series 1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A Charles Dickins novel, a story of the progress of the time, politics, forced marriage and high born mixing with common people,trade union and low wages and working conditions, set in 1854 Victorian Britain, classic actors.

Stars: Patrick Allen, Timothy West, Rosalie Crutchley
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A young, compassionate man struggles to save his family and friends from the abusive exploitation of his cold-heartedly grasping uncle.

Director: Douglas McGrath
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Jamie Bell, Christopher Plummer
The Pickwick Papers (TV Series 1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A twelve-part BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens first novel. The story follows Samuel Pickwick and three other members of The Pickwick Club as they travel throughout the English countryside... See full summary »

Stars: Nigel Stock, Clive Swift, Alan Parnaby
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

David Powlett-Jones has just returned to England from the trenches of WWI. He was injured and shell-shocked and, after a spell in hospital he gets a job teaching in a boys boarding school ... See full summary »

Stars: John Duttine, Frank Middlemass, Alan MacNaughtan
Our Mutual Friend (TV Mini-Series 1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Intertwining tales of love, greed, and secret identities in Charles Dickens's 1860s London.

Stars: Paul McGann, Keeley Hawes, Dominic Mafham
Paradise Postponed (TV Mini-Series 1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A clergyman, famous for his support of left-wing causes, dies - and surprises his family by leaving a great deal of money to a Conservative Member of Parliament. Why?

Stars: Paul Shelley, David Threlfall, Michael Hordern
Great Expectations (TV Mini-Series 1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Phillip Pirrip, known as Pip, meets a convict or two in a graveyard and sets into motion a series of events that lead him from a comfortable life in his brother-in-law's forge to a ... See full summary »

Stars: Jean Simmons, John Rhys-Davies, Ray McAnally
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young man struggles to protect his family and friends from the schemes of his sinister uncle.

Stars: Andrew Simpson, Jonathan Harden, Adrian Dunbar
Nicholas Nickleby (TV Movie 1985)
Animation | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Stars: Colin Borgonon, Wallas Eaton, Ron Haddrick


Complete series cast summary:
 Mr. Wagstaff / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
 Fanny Squeers / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
Janet Dale ...
 Miss Knag / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
Jane Downs ...
 Mrs. Nickleby / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
Cathryn Harrison ...
 Henrietta Petowker / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
 Mrs. Crummles / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
 Mr. Mantalini / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
 John Browdie / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
Edward Petherbridge ...
 Newman Noggs / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
 Nicholas Nickleby (4 episodes, 1982)
Emily Richard ...
 Kate Nickleby / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
 Smike (4 episodes, 1982)
Thelma Whiteley ...
 Madame Mantalini / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
 Ralph Nickleby / ... (4 episodes, 1982)
 Mr. Vincent Crummles (3 episodes, 1982)
Nicholas Gecks ...
 Lord Frederick Verisopht (3 episodes, 1982)
 Mr. Kenwigs (3 episodes, 1982)
Lucy Gutteridge ...
 Madeline Bray / ... (3 episodes, 1982)
Shirley King ...
 Mrs. Kenwigs (3 episodes, 1982)
 Croupier / ... (3 episodes, 1982)
David Lloyd Meredith ...
 Charles Cheeryble / ... (3 episodes, 1982)
Hubert Rees ...
 Mr. Curdle / ... (3 episodes, 1982)
Sharon Bower ...
 Milliner / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Jeffery Dench ...
 Arthur Gride / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Ian East ...
 Milliner / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Alan Gill ...
 George / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Andrew Hawkins ...
 Captain Adams / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Rose Hill ...
 Lady From Downstairs / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Roderick Horn ...
 Dr. London / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Griffith Jones ...
 Flunkey / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
 Benjamin / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Timothy Kightley ...
 Col. Chowser / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
William Maxwell ...
 Milliner / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Sally Nesbitt ...
 Milliner / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Clyde Pollitt ...
 Brooker / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Stephen Rashbrook ...
 Alphonse / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Christopher Ravenscroft ...
 Frank Cheeryble / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
 Bolder / ... (2 episodes, 1982)
Hilary Townley ...
 Hannah / ... (2 episodes, 1982)


Young Nicholas Nickleby sets out to make his fortune in order to prevent his mother and sister from depending upon his uncle, Ralph Nicklby. But he finds his first job as master at a Yorkshire school to be cruel, and runs away with one of the students. Meanwhile, Kate is subjected to the unwanted attentions of Sir Mulberry Hawk, aided by her uncle. Nicholas and his new friend, Smike, begin their adventures and eventually set out to rescue Kate, with the usual Dickensian twists, turns and asides. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

10 January 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nicholas Nickleby  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(in four episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original eight and a half hour Broadway production of "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby" by Charles Dickens and adapted by David Edgar opened at the Plymouth Theater (after two successful runs in London) on October 4, 1981, and ran for 49 performances. It was performed in its entirety at 1pm on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, with a tight one-hour meal break from 5-6pm between Parts One and Two. For those with day jobs, Thursday nights were just Part One, Friday nights were just Part Two, at 7pm. To cover the huge production cost of importing the show and cast, the tickets were a then unheard-of $100 for every seat (and worth every penny). It made theatrical history and won the 1982 Tony Award for the Best Play. Alun Armstrong, Suzanne Bertish, Sharon Bower, Janet Dale, Jeffery Dench, Ian East, Alan Gill, Lucy Gutteridge, Andrew Hawkins, Rose Hill, Roderick Horn, Lila Kaye, Teddy Kempner, Timothy Kightley, William Maxwell, John McEnery, David Lloyd Meredith, Sally Nesbitt, Bob Peck, Edward Petherbridge, Clyde Pollitt, Stephen Rashbrook, Christopher Ravenscroft, Roger Rees, Hubert Rees, Emily Richard, Mark Tandy, David Threlfall, Hilary Townley, Thelma Whiteley and John Woodvine, recreated their stage roles in the television miniseries. The 1982 Tony Award for Best Actor in Play was won by Roger Rees. Edward Petherbridge and David Threlfall were nominated for the 1982 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. See more »


Version of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1947) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Couldn't Be Better
3 August 2003 | by (Sacramento, CA) – See all my reviews

It's quite hard to photograph a stage play for television or the movies. Most times the finished product must, of necessity, do close-ups of some actor or small group of actors, while the entire stage picture is not visible. With "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" a monumental theatrical undertaking is transformed quite admirably to the small screen. Filmed at The Old Vic in London, the entire show--sets, costumes, lighting, music, and above all else, the acting and direction--are given an immediacy and intimacy that makes the audience member feel as though the show is being performed for them alone.

Charles Dickens works were, by and large, quite long, the original publication being serialized in newspapers and magazines. Rich in character and descriptive passages, with dialog sparkling with the many levels of society that Dickens portrayed, plot layered upon sub-plot and more sub-plot, it would have been understandable if the writers and producers were reluctant to try to bring such a complex novel to life. Certainly, movies are rife with misguided attempts to take 1000 page novels and turn them into 100 minute movies. Seldom do they do more than touch on the highlights of a novel, and then they often feel the need to add story lines that weren't in the original in a foolish attempt to make the production more acceptable to modern audiences. "Nicholas Nickleby" does it right. In nine glorious hours of high energy acting, the tale of Nicholas, his sister Kate, friend Smike, Newman Noggs, greedy uncle Ralph, and the delightful brothers Cheryble unfolds before us.

With a cast numbering more than 40 playing well over 200 roles, the show moves easily from the Nickleby clan's arrival in London to their ultimate happiness, with the usual collection of Dickensian hardships and triumphs along the way. Many actors will be familiar to audiences, although the names might not be so. Certainly, if you watch enough British television on A & E or BBC you will recognize several of the cast members, and Roger Rees, brilliant in the title role, has long been familiar to American audiences.

But pay close attention to the smaller roles, too. An old theater adage says "there are no small parts, only small actors." This show is a perfect example of quality acting from largest to smallest role. Had one actor not been totally on top of their game, it would have stood out badly. Watch the reactions on the faces of the people who are on the edges of a scene: totally involved in what is going on, listening all the time, creating a reality that is as complete as can be found on a stage.

"The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" is as entertaining, involving, uplifting and exhilarating bit of theater as could be found. It's a joy to watch, and I, for one, am delighted that it is available on DVD. Go out and buy it today, and spend a weekend in front of your TV, entranced. I did.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is the dvd transfer as bad as many have said? Celebrianna
Just watched this again for the first time in 20 years sooziewoozy
Starting this board nihilistwonder
question about lord frederick ingemann2000

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: