Great Expectations (TV Mini-Series 2011– ) Poster

(2011– )

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Good "Great Expectations".
jc-osms3 January 2012
The last BBC Dickens' dramatisation broke "Bleak House" down into half-hour soap-opera size elements for easy digestion and to sort of tie-in with the original publication of the story in instalments, but here the format reverted to the more traditional one-hour episodes shown over three consecutive nights.You pays your money and while I welcomed the 30 minute novelty was happy this time to sit for longer and take in the master's story over a shorter period.

There have been so many previous adaptations that any new production has to offer something different, particularly in the scenes meant to grab the viewer's attention, like Pip's first meeting with Magwich and his first visit to Miss Havisham's mausoleum of a house. Both are done very well, particularly Ray Winstone's Magwich rising from the depths of the marshland to confront the terrified youngster while the set-dressing for Satis House certainly conveys the requisite decay and obsolescence of the dwelling-place of its jilted, cold-hearted owner.

It's really only necessary to film the story here to succeed, so great is the narrative Dickens provides, with his adeptness at furnishing a circular story-line, where nothing and no-one is missed out in the resolution as everyone gets more or less their just desserts. Nevertheless the story-telling is enhanced with excellent performances by its big names, Winstone and Gillian Anderson (who was also in "Bleak House"), although the production is less starry than "Bleak House", with only David Suchet as the very correct Jaggers perhaps claiming marquee status. That said the rest of the cast are mostly excellent, playing their well-known characters with aplomb, particularly the portrayals of Pip's shrewish sister, redoubtable Joe Gargery and loyal Herbert Pocket. However I sensed some weakness in the casting of the adult Pip and Estella, the former not imposing enough (in fact I preferred the acting of the young Pip), the latter not glacial or even beautiful enough, but they don't fatally wing the story.

The cinematography is superb, utilising washed-out, almost monochromatic shots to suggest the bleakness of the Dartford Moors and the Thames at the conclusion, while the depiction of the London Gentleman's Clubs as well as the afore-mentioned Satis House are superbly realised. There are many memorable scenes, with Gillian Anderson's inevitable self-immolation perhaps staying longest in the memory. My only other carp would be the occasional "modern" vulgarisation of aspects of the story, for example Drummle's taking Pip to a brothel, as if this wonderful story needs "sexing-up" in some way, which of course it doesn't.

Nevertheless with the promise of a new version of "Edwin Drood" to come, this was a very good and occasionally memorable version of a classic story.
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Beautifully portrayed classic tale
nikolova-assya19 February 2012
Fine work of all of the cast relating a story that has been told so many times, that you cannot expect to feel it fresh and deeply touching, but they do. The journey of young Pip from simple kindhearted boy to knowing, kindhearted man is so capturing that, although knowing the story, I couldn't stop asking myself "what will happen at the end". The richness of the human soul have always captured me and in the this beautiful story you can see it all in one go - betrayal so bitter that makes a heart full of pride so angry and mean as to destroy several lives in a cold, premeditated scheme vexing deeply two young hearts, but mostly its own designer. You will see avarice and ambition of twisted little souls. But mostly you will see kindness - perfect scene in ep1-you will see friendship, honest and lasting, and you will see love, above passion and simplicity. I love Dickens and his way of unfolding his characters, so I was very pleased to see the series keeping close to his book, but in a fresh way suited for the understanding of 21st century audience. I very much recommend!
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Gillian Anderson is magnificent
jamespenido2 January 2012
Outstanding performance of Gillian Anderson.As an ethereal and ghostly Miss Havisham she is still creepy and manipulative.Who would say that "Scully" managed to be such a great actress! Although Douglas Booth is by far much more handsome as Pip would be;his performance is really good.Many critics complained on the actor being such a model!I suppose this is nonsense. Ray winstone is a stupendous Magwitch-all rage and revenge. And Harry Lloyd(who happens to be Dicken's great-great-great-grandson) plays Herbert Pocket exactly as one imagines him to be:the good and always amiable fellow. A great although not perfect(which one is...)adaptation.
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Not so Great
toxina903 January 2012
I don't want to go into too much detail or else it will be thoroughly spoiled. I anticipated this adaptation for months, being a great Dickens fan, especially after the BBC's magnificent adaptation of Bleak House.

Similar problems always arise in these adaptations, both suffered from an absence of some key characters (although the latter had more episodes, and didn't suffer as a result) so here as a result the character development is not as it should have been.

I was impressed however by how much of the plot they fit into just 3 episodes over Christmas, and the pace was terrific. There were flaws in the script, where Bleak House took plenty of quotes from the novel, this didn't and therefore doesn't feel as fleshy or ultimately, Dickensian. Why change the best form?

I commend the cinematographers. One really felt the setting as it was written. Now onto the major successes and faults; casting.

Douglas Booth as the protagonist tried but came off as a bit too wooden. He also looked far too attractive (which of course is not an insult) but it didn't really work.

It is nice to see Claire Rushbrook again. Not seen her since Secrets & Lies. She was very convincing as Mrs Joe. Shaun Dooley was excellent as Joe Gargery, as were Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket, Jack Roth as Orlick, David Suchet as Jaggers and Ray Winstone definitely brought great life and humanity to the dreaded Magwitch.

My hat though must go off to Gillian Anderson, although many have thought her wrong for the part, let me explain why she was so good and right for the role.

Although Miss Havisham has been typically played as elderly, and her age is never specified really in the book, she was almost married as a teenager, and the time passing would place her in her forties, to early fifties. This makes Anderson, if anything, TOO YOUNG for the role, and the original "best" Martita Hunt, was only some years older. Of course she has been aged by her style of existence. Anderson did look more worn and ethereal as the series progressed. People also seemed to have a problem with her voice.

I see the childish voice as her being trapped in her 18 year old self, which presumably is the age she was jilted, so like the rest of the house, time stopped at that point, which is why she had a similar childish outburst when her relatives visited. I think Anderson's performance therefore is rather genius. One can really feel the angst, anger, regret she feels. I would have preferred a more dramatic apology to Pip in the end, but I suppose it was more subtle. Anderson again impresses in a Dickensian role, showing something completely different to her outstanding portrayal of Lady Dedlock.

It is her impressive work which for me gives this a 7 over 6. Oh and the intro sequence was quite beautiful. Slightly disappointing but overall an engaging adaptation, with a brave effort by Anderson which should really be recognised by BAFTA.

Dooley, Roth, Winstone and Lloyd should all create some buzz too.
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Mostly solid, if rather rushed
TheLittleSongbird4 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I've always liked Charles Dickens, both his writing and adaptations of his work. There are several fantastic Dickens adaptations, especially David Lean's Great Expectations(the 1999 version is also very impressive) and Oliver Twist, David Copperfield(1999), Bleak House and Little Dorrit. This Great Expectations I don't think is in the same league of the above adaptations, but it is a very solid adaptation on its own, not superb like RadioTimes said but not the piece of whatever I've read from some people on the message board.

Great Expectations(2011) does I feel have its shortcomings. I do agree with some that say it was rather rushed, the details were there but while always interesting and never dull some of it does feel a bit too neat. Some scenes did jar, such as young Pip transforming suddenly into the older Pip, and the very end, which had a that's it feel to it. I also didn't like the decision to cut out Biddy and let Pip's sister live, it didn't add anything to the storytelling, and while harrowing in a sense Magwitch's recapture was rather drawn out.

Unfortunately I also have to agree that Douglas Booth and Vanessa Kirby as the adult Pip and Estella were miscast. In some ways, it is a plus that they are closer in age to the characters in the novel than John Mills and Valerie Hobson were in the Lean film but actually I found Lean's leads more believable. Booth is very handsome, maybe too much so, but very wooden. Likewise Kirby came across as too plain, especially compared to Booth which was a little disconcerting, and awkward.

Luckily their child counterparts were much better, young Estella was beautiful in looks and cold in manner, and Oscar Kennedy who is every bit as promising as he was in Toast is even better. The support cast are also wonderful, with honourable mentions going to Shaun Dooley, who came across as sympathetic and having a lot more steel, David Suchet's firm Jaggers, Jack Roth as Orlick, Ray Winstone whose acting in the first episode is quite terrifying and especially Gillian Anderson's haunting Miss Havisham.

Visually it looks wonderful, it has some beautiful sets and locations while still keeping the evocative atmosphere and not looking too clean. The costumes and photography are also very good, especially Miss Havisham's. The music is often eerie while not ever sounding over-bearing or obvious. The script while not always having Dickens' wit and not following the novel's prose(in fact the language such as Magwitch's description of the second man seems to have been "simplified") is still good and flows well.

On top of this, the story even with the rushed or jarring parts is compelling and makes you want to see the rest after the previous episode ends. The characterisation is mostly pleasing particularly at the start with Magwitch, though Pip's shrugging off of Joe seemed out of character. All in all, the series is mostly solid but maybe it was longer(4 or 5 episodes would've been better) and had two better adult leads it could have been even more than it turned out to be. 7/10 for the rest of the cast and the meticulous attention to detail. Bethany Cox
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Inferior Dickens
jimdoyle1112 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Fairly unimpressive adaptation that simplifies the storyline a little too much, has some very uneven performances and the whole thing plays like a rather dodgy episode of 'Eastenders' complete with the odd swear word and graphic image. Gillian Anderson's Miss Haversham is in a different film from everyone else and there are some laugh out loud moments like Estella thanking the horse and Ray Winstone throwing money everywhere and saying 'This is yours' making it look like one of the bets he advertises has just come up.

On the plus side it is well photographed and Shaun Dooley and David Suchet make their characters real.

Such a shame that the 200th anniversary of Dickens is marked by such inferior product.
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Excellent Version
SkeletonTongue7 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I'm rather surprised by some of the negative reviews here. This was a sumptuous production, extremely well cast and judiciously edited from the book. It went out at peak viewing time over the holiday period and drew in large numbers of viewers primarily because it targeted its audience extremely well. Yes it cuts characters from the book, Biddy for example, but with limited time and for the sake of streamlining the story these are characters only missed if you knew of their existence in the first place. For those new to Dickens and there will many, as every generation arrives at classic literature from it's own direction, it is a great introduction to the novel, which I encourage anyone to pick up and read.

Standout performances are definitely Ray Winstone and Gillian Anderson, both obviously enjoying their roles enormously and inhabiting their characters perfectly. Any misgivings people have to the casting of the 43 year old Anderson as Miss Havisham should be put to one side. She is often presented as far too old a character in previous versions, so to complain that seven or eight years have been knocked off seems kind of redundant. I enjoyed Douglas Booth as Pip, and he managed to make him initially unlikeable and naive, yet eventually more sympathetic, despite being so 'pretty'! Hat's off to Paul Ritter as Wemmick and Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket too, both perfect!
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Bitterly disappointed
davegp9 March 2012
I've only watched halfway through the first episodes but as far as I can tell I'm yet to hear a single line from the original text. Dickens isn't Dickens without his perfect prose. I understand the need to condense the dialogue but surely they could've done better than this.

Take this example from the first chapter of the original:

"Now lookee here!" said the man. "Where's your mother?" "There, sir!" said I. He started, made a short run, and stopped and looked over his shoulder. "There, sir!" I timidly explained. "Also Georgiana. That's my mother." "Oh!" said he, coming back. "And is that your father alonger your mother?" "Yes, sir," said I; "him too; late of this parish."

This has been vandalized into:

"Where's your parents?" "Dead and Buried"

I rest my case.

From the little I saw Ray Winstone was impressive.
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screenman3 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Back in the 19th century, there was this bloke called Charles Dickens. He was the finest novelist of all time (in my opinion). I also saw some commentator on the telly around Christmas time referring to him as our greatest comedian. The great man is long gone but his wonderful books remain, chock full of drama, tragedy, comedy, and everything besides and between.

But that was then; this is now. Now, we have the BBC, who have reinvented all of Dickens' wonderful novels as the most dismal, gloomy, humourless, tragic scenarios imaginable.

Some 30 years ago, before this wasteful public utility became a hot-bed of academic left-wing revisionism, it could be relied upon to produce the most authentic interpretations of the Master that could be. You'd only find better by reading the novels themselves. I remember Arthur Lowe (of all people) giving a flawless interpretation of Mr Micawber.

I saw the trailers for this 3-parter and knew what was coming. And sure enough; it was exactly as advertised. Who are the BBC to think that they are so clever and high-and-mighty as to commit this outrage? I sat through the first episode, grimacing. That was quite enough. All the humour was gone. All the irony was gone. All of Dickens' clever and sly Victorian dialogue had been replaced by invented conversation that was flat, tedious and bore absolutely no trace of the original. Once again; it was 'Eastenders' tricked-up as a costume drama in which only the original plot elements had survived.

If you've never gloried in The Master's work, you won't know what you're missing. And I'm so sorry for you. The good news is, that those original BBC dramas still remain on DVD, discounted by Amazon. They're lower-budget productions, and inevitably more stagy, But they knock this revisionist crap straight down the can. There's also Lean's fine rendition from the 1940's.

Go for the novels first, and revel in Dickens' sly wit, hilarious characters, and amazing dialogue. And if you want more, then check-out those early BBC productions from a time when The Firm didn't regard its existence as a law unto itself.

Someone should hang for this.
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Pretty Uninspired Adaptation
Imhotep778 April 2012
I actually just finished the book a month ago so it might have adversely affected my opinion since this adaptation is so very different than the book. Without going into details and risk spoilers, I just have to say the casting is subpar, except for Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham. The streamlining and changes in plots are questionable, the loss of some characters and changes to their actions and personality render them un-Dickensian. There should be enough time in 3 hours to tell a closer story to the original but the 3 hours felt like 6, I was bored and unmoved. I remember watching Bleak House, also with Gillian Anderson, and couldn't get enough, this one, I couldn't wait for it to end.
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Zero expectations
Leofwine_draca4 January 2012
Another example of BBC scriptwriters attempting to 'improve' on classic works of fiction, hence the existence of previous Christmas failures like THE TURN OF THE SCREW and WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU. GREAT EXPECTATIONS follows in the footsteps of those unwise productions and turns out to be another utterly forgettable adaptation.

This miniseries is laid out over three hour-long episodes and yet contains less depth and material from the book than the shorter David Lean version. Much of the comedy from the book (like the bit with Joe not knowing where to put his hat) is excised, leaving this a maudlin, pretentious experience. New, endless scenes of characters arguing or sitting around tables are not a substitute for genuine penmanship.

Although the production looks good, with some excellent atmospheric shots of Romney Marsh at the opening, like THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL the whole of the action takes place in only a handful of locations, which soon becomes repetitive. Where's the hustle and bustle of Victorian London, the feeling of another era brought to life? Not here, certainly.

Of the cast, there's little to write home about. Douglas Booth (PILLARS OF THE EARTH) is adequate as Pip and Ray Winstone makes an excellent Magwith and deserves more screen time. Gillian Anderson's Miss Havisham is horrible, and not in a good way. She seems to be channelling the White Witch, talks in a silly little girl-voice and is about twenty years too young for the part. It's a pantomime performance and the worst I've seen of this actress. Vanessa Kirby's Estella is certainly not the woman that "any man would want to marry" and David Suchet and Mark Addy are both wasted in nothing roles.

A distinctly lacklustre Dickens that takes away the very life and voice of the author, leaving only bland characters going through the motions.
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Liberties have been taken.
dave11 March 2012
As a Dickens tragic I am well aware that adapting his novels for dramatic performance, whether on stage, TV or on film, will always pose problems, but there have been some triumphant successes. David Lean's being notable, but also the more recent examples: Bleak House -(sublime) and Little Dorrit (brilliant - twice). I have a set of earlier BBC attempts at other Dickens novels on DVD and some of them are toe-curlingly embarrassing - and prove that a good screenwriter is the most important ingredient for success. This production of Great Expectations was good - just. Ray Wintone was born to play Abel Magwitch, and whilst I initially stepped back in amazement at Gillian Anderson's performance as Miss Havisham, I was finally convinced that she was right; her child-like approach fits in with the psychology of a young bride jilted and bitter - excellent. My problems were not particularly with the cast, most of whom were very good, but with the liberties taken with Dicken's plot. The "brothel" scene was unnecessary - why insert "new stuff" when you have left out some old stuff. Much of the dialogue lacked 19th Century authenticity - why tinker about with an aspect of Dicken's writing which has always been seen as one of his greatest strengths? Do the producers think that we are not clever enough to understand? I hope the production of Edwin Drood is better.
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Brilliant adaptation
KatherineGM22 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Personally, this programme made my Christmas much better. I watched it with my family and it was just the kind of thing that was suitable for everyone. The actors were excellent, Gillian Anderson giving a very creepy yet sympathetic performance of Miss Havisham, and Harry Lloyd was pitched perfectly as the eccentric and loyal Herbert Pocket. Ray Winstone and Shaun Dooley were also heart breaking as the convict Magwitch and Pips kind brother-in-law Joe Gargery. But the person that stood out to me most was Douglas Booth as Pip. I'd only seen him before in Burberry magazines, and he is admittedly gorgeous and I'm now a fan :) but his acting ability far exceeded my expectations,he was very convincing and proved he is more than just a pretty- well, STUNNING face! The one thing that bothered me was Vanessa Kirby as Estella. It wasn't that she was bad, she just wasn't as good as everyone else. She's also supposed to be absolutely beautiful, but next to Douglas Booth she just looked plain and uninteresting, which isn't necessarily her fault. The scenery and setting were great, the young Pip and Estella were magical, and the whole thing was flawless, exceptional. There should have been more episodes because I felt very sad when it finished. Definitely recommended.
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Good Expectations.
MadameGeorge4 May 2012
While I have read 'Great Expectations' probably about three times in my life and am blown away every single time I do- I find that I have yet to find a film that captures the importance and reverence that the book generates. I understand that film is not suppose to replace the book- but interpret for the screen, it becomes troublesome when certain aspects are not done properly and therefor the story suffers- this occurs in books, just as is does in film. The BBC adaptation is not a disappointment, necessarily, but it lacks in certain areas that cannot be over looked.

I start with what was good- First, the scenery and cinematography was spot on, from the home of childhood Pip, to the streets of London, it was close to what I experience when I read the book. Miss Havisham's home was perfect. It was a ghost of a home, just as she represents a ghost of a woman. There was just enough creepiness and sorrow with a dash of destruction. It may seem silly, but the scene- is almost a character in film- there is a deep impact or lack that can come from how something is represented visually.

Everything from Pip's transformation from blacksmith to gentlemen was well done. Douglas Booth's (Pip) physical appearance did not change, but using clothes, there is a reality to his progression that is necessary to the story and was handled well. I am constantly blown away with regard to BBC Masterpiece Theaters ability to take me to a different place and time so masterfully and 'Expectation' was no different.

Second, Jillian Andreson's Miss Havisham was great. I thought she captured how love is a true destroyer well. When she was in any scene she was the center- she hold the audience with her use of voice and appearance. It was amazing. Shaun Dooley was also very good as Pip's uncle and teacher, Joe Gargery. I thought that he played the 'father figure' well and when he confronted Pip about his behavior and new life-he demanded attention to not only Pip's choices, but as the book captures so well, the deeper themes of social class struggles, family versus money and honesty all took center stage. His performance was a joy to watch. The minor characters, such as Able Magwitch (Ray Winstone), Herbert Pocket (Harry Lloyd) and Jaggers (David Suchet) were also very good and fit nicely into their individual roles.

The bad was really not all that bad for all intensive purposes, but I felt that a few things just brought down the film adaption.

Pip. Oh, Pip. Played by Douglas Booth, who is perfectly wonderful to look at was flat. I never felt the passion that he carried for Estella, which is suppose to be the center of the tale. At its foundation 'Expectations' is a story about love and desire, and I do not think that it was captured here. Since it was clear early on in this adaptation that Estella and Pip encompassed the main theme, it was on the shoulders of Booth to carry the film and he struggled. Perhaps he was too young of a choice to play Pip, while he is close to the actual age of Pip in the book, but he seemed to struggle with how to emphasize his desire, his call for greatness. Booth's performance was not terrible, but it was not great and that was what it needed to be.

The same problem occurred with the female lead, Vanassa Kirby, who played Estella. I understand that she is mean to be a destroyer of men, but she came off as if she was a robot. Seriously, there was nothing to her and that is NOT how she is suppose to be. Ugh, I just do not even want to think about it.

Overall, this adaption was not bad, but it failed where it mattered and left me skeptical of how many more Dicken's classics will be interpreted. Keep the cinematography guys, the music, the costume, the adult actors- but find young actor who can act- not just look the part, but be the beloved character.
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Terrible miscasting - Ms Havisham is prettier than Estella
phd_travel18 December 2012
Please don't watch this terribly miscast BBC version of the beloved tale. Just wait for the Ralph Fiennes version coming out soon. Or re watch the John Mills and Jean Simmons version which is near perfect.

Lots has been said about Gillian Anderson being too young and pretty to be Ms Havisham but she is actually alright quite ghostly and spooky. The problem is Vanessa Kirby as Estella she is just way too plain - like some ugly step sister of Cinderella. Even Ms Havisham is prettier than Estella!. Terrible miscasting. You could throw a stone and find a prettier English girl on any street in London. Really spoils the series.

Douglas Booth is too pretty and polished for Pip instead of being wide eyed and rough around the edges. He doesn't display enough emotion at the right parts. It's like the Beauty and the Beast with Estella the beast! Even the 2 kids as young Pip and Estella aren't cute.

There is a lack of romantic sweep and drama in this version. Also there are some crucial things they didn't show eg Pip trying to save Ms Havisham. Watching this version will ruin your image of the story. Just skip it.
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Worst Adaptation Ever!
bagoblues-345-19019615 April 2012
I cannot get the time back that I wasted watching this horrible piece of garbage, but I hope these actors (particular Gillian Anderson) got paid a lot of money to appear here! Not only did they rush through crucial parts of the story, but by rushing through these parts, they added dialog that didn't exist in the book, and deleted extremely important (and well known) dialog from the film.

The rushed nature of the film (considering the fact that these are the same people who took five episodes to complete "Bleak House") is mind boggling! "Great Expectations" is one of the Dickens novels that someone unfamiliar with Dickens might watch in adaptation, and yet "Bleak House...?"

The psychological games played between characters is far too sinister for the story. The back-story does have intrigue, but nothing so diabolical as implied... oh, why am I bothering. Don't soil your eyes with it!
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the flavor
Armand28 December 2014
maybe it is not the best adaptation. but it has the flavor of novel. Douglas Booth is , maybe, a too modern Pip, more interesting as Romeo or Lancelot but almost strange for this role. the good part - Gillian Anderson who is the inspired choice for Lady Havisham and a huge surprise for many viewers. a series who is more than seductive or beautiful. it is not exactly an adaptation but useful support for remember parts from book. that is its basic virtue - a film like a travel. not just extraordinary but special. not only for atmosphere but for a kind of flavor who is not only part of a great cast or script innovations. a film for remember. that could be the definition. beautiful and correct.
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Bear2 April 2012
I can fault a film for leaving out bits of book due to time constraints but a TV should be able to flesh it out more having more time a leeway. SO when they leave out characters and scenes that are integral to the themes of a book it irks me.

But my main issue with this production is that all the themes and symbolism in the book got tossed out in place of a LOVE STORY! The characters have been changed from their true natures to some clichéd Hollywood tripe.

There worst is Miss Havisham and Mrs. Joe.

Miss Havisham is not nearly as crazy and bitter as she should be. She comes more as a fairy queen or some kind of ghost.

There is NO maid at Miss Havisham's there is Estella because Estella is being trained to break men's hearts by Havisham! Not that you would know from this version. Miss Havisham is all wrong in her speech "Love her pip." WHAT?! She is bitter about love, she would NEVER say that. And she NEVER invites Pip back, Pip goes of his own accord to find Estella who has abroad to mainland Europe. Also she NEVER comes down to greet people they go UP to see her. There are no lighted windows in the house and Estella must lead all guests by candle light. And as I envisioned it, there are a lot more clocks.

Also she is cold and rude and snobby and she NEVER runs after pip. She has been trained that way.

Mrs. Gargery is not NEARLY as awful as she was in the book, which is particularly vexing for me as I had mother just like her. Mrs. Gargey says "I'm so proud of you pip!" HUH?! That is totally out of character. She takes the money Pip earned and goes out to celebrate, scolding Pip for not being in a good mood when he has just been indentured to Joe. She raised pip and Joe by hand and you hardly see that. It just looks like a standard household with the usual quarrels not what Dicken's showed us at all.

Mr. Gargery was a kind-hearted simpleton who said next to nothing in the book but here he's all ready to do the right thing and take action. And his kinship with Pip is totally off because Mrs. Joe is not nasty enough so that bond between Pip and Joe gets tossed aside.

Pip seems to old by the end of the first episode and he seem endowed with too must consciousness from the start, in that the convict doesn't ask him to get food, he brings it of his own choosing AND he doesn't bring the whole pie! Which, throws off the later incident when he is almost found out.

And there is no Biddy which provides a contrast to Havisham's AND provides Pip with a very important lesson in that wealth and power and learnin' doesn't = happiness. For when Pip offers to raise Joe up from his station when Pip has become a gentlemen, she counters saying that maybe Joe is happy where he is.

Pumblechook in the book came off as an asshole but not a scheming one who when Mrs. Joe falls ill he smirks and says some line about moving up and on without her.

It is things like this that really bugged me. I didn't mind not having the Jolly Bargemen scenes if you had to cut something but to needlessly change the characters personalities was stupid because it alters Dicken's intentions and the lessons he was telling. I don't know WHY they did it but it was EPIC FAIL.

And as a last complaint, I think the film (i.e. characters, sets etc) could've been much much filthier just as Dicken's describes it.

If you've haven't read the book this version will be fine but nothing outstanding.

If you haven't read the book DO SO NOW.

If you have read the book, you can watch this if you want to yell at the screen the whole time. Or you can just avoid and keep your version of Miss Havisham safely in your head.
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Gave up half-way through
Bernie-5618 April 2012
Stunning photography and high production values in the end could not make up for the gaping plot holes. If you had never seen earlier versions or had never read the book then you would think this is a marvellous production.

The piece got off to a magnificent start - the scenes at the forge and surrounding countryside. I did think it odd that the forge was nowhere near a town or farms. People needing a horse shod had a considerable journey to get the job done. At the end of the first episode I was having doubts and shortly into the second episode I had had enough and turned off. At the end of part one I wondered what had happened to Biddy, a secondary but important character. Biddy teaches Pip to read and write yet in this series Pip learns to read and write without any tuition.

Joe Gargery's appearance at Pip's club was a false note too. Then one character refers to another as 'an idiot'. Using the word 'idiot' in that way dates from the 1960s. Then it was a medical term meaning a person with severe mental retardation. 'Fool' would have been the correct word.
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Expectations not met
Prismark107 June 2015
Ray Winstone looks like an actor who simply had to play Magwitch one day. Its a shame that he was not saved for the BBC Films version which was released in 2012.

Gillian Anderson brings an ethereal touch as Miss Havisham. A younger, prettier woman yet witch like.

The problem was the bland leads. Douglas Booth was beige as Pip and you just kept wondering why Harry Lloyd wonderful as Herbert Pocket should had been cast as Pip.

Its a watchable version, very atmospheric and the side actors bring some verve to their roles. With better casting this would had been a much better adaptation of this often told tale of Charles Dickens.
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Not Very Faithful to the Novel
mwalker-6123 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I'll not comment on the casting or acting, nor on the photography, lighting, or other technical aspects of the production. For me, the most important aspect of any adaptation of a Dickens novel is the degree to which the adaptation is faithful to the novel. And, in that respect, this production fails miserably. Many of the characters are portrayed in a way that is very different from the way they are depicted in the novel, including Herbert Pocket, Mr. Jaggers, Miss Havisham, Uncle Pumblechook, and especially Joe. And, while it cannot be expected that every event in the novel could be crammed into a three-hour production, some important events are missing, and others are shown out of order; for example, Herbert Pocket marries and departs for Egypt before Magwich arrives, even though, in the novel, Pip is assisted in his effort to spirit Magwich out of the country by Herbert and Startop (a minor character who is omitted from most productions). One of worst aspects of the production is the insertion of scenes that are not in the novel, and which are wholly out of harmony with Dickens' writing, such as the scene where Pip goes to a brothel with Drummel. Worst of all, though, is the almost total replacement of Dickens' words with new dialogue. It is almost as if the screenwriter was thinking, "I can do a better job of telling the story than this Dickens guy." The bottom line is, if you love Dickens' work in general, and Great Expectations in particular, you would do well to skip this version.
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Not always great, but better than some adaptations.
studioAT24 January 2017
Airing over Christmas 2011 this adaptation of Dickens' classic novel is actually pretty good. It can't compete with the David Lean version, but there's a lot to be liked about it.

Yes, it cuts out some moments, which is odd seeing as they had several episodes to tell it in rather than the 90 mins you'd have in a film, but all involved seem to suit their roles well and give good performances.

It's not perfect, but there are lots of strong moments within this mini series and I rate it as being stronger than the film version that followed a year later.
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Why bother?
bowofdeath24 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I don't see the purpose of making this version. Apparently the BBC has more subsidy money that they can think of what to do with it.

Frankly, the actor playing Pip is not that great and Estella is downright homely and I can't help but see Hercule Perot. Harry Lloyd wonderful as Herbert Pocket as others have said.

Since others have covered many of these shortcomings I shall restrict my further comments to my disappointment in the production design and cinematography.Since the 1946 version won Oscars for Best Cinematography, Black- and-White, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White the standard was set. Making the film in color did not alleviate them of a need to meet or exceed that standard.

I know, it won Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or a Movie and Best Cinematography or a Miniseries or a Movie. but all I can say is how can that be? Apparently the judges know nothing about Victorian architecture, furniture or decorative arts and thus are unqualified to judge this film. As for the cinematography, they obviously chose to overlook some fairly frequent major flaws.

Having been an antiques dealer and having a degree in Architecture and being a filmmaker and cinematographer I was hoping at least the production design and camera-work would be worth the effort. The production design is awful with mismatched furniture and decorative arts throughout, usually in the same room.

The overdone areas in a severe state of decay throughout the Haversham mansion was ridiculous. First floor rooms will rarely show signs of decay from a leaking roof in a two story mansion, especially after only a couple decades of neglect. Having the wedding day dining table unchanged makes since but everything else is overkill and unbelievable. The contrast of the dining room with with the rest of the house in previous versions was missed.

There was never any sign that any dust was ever disturbed even on the staircase handrails. Absurd.

It is set in London and surrounds in the early to mid-1800s. The use of candles everywhere was totally wrong. It is the Victorian gaslight era and just before and candles went out of everyday use long before that due to their high cost. They were handmade, and were replaced by whale oil and then kerosene long before gaslight became available in the early 1800's in London. If you can't get that right you are doomed as lighting is the most noticeable thing in the rooms. They should have limited the use of candles to candelabras on the dining tables at formal dinner affairs, just like today.

I hardly saw any furniture that didn't appear to be several decades out of fashion for the period. Not a sign of wealth to have old fashioned used furniture. Reminded me of the set for The Heiress which had a great set except for the furnishings which were also out of date despite belonging to a rich New York surgeon. Few people in London and New York with money at that time did not own out of fashion furniture yet everyone in this film does no matter what their own age. I think the spendthrift Pip would be buying the latest designs to impress Estella and his new friend, not used, out of style furniture.

But for the color, the flocked wallpaper in the Haversham mansion was right out of "The Unsinkable Molly Brown", an even worse production design disaster.

Some of the weird camera angles and lenses had no purpose and distorted things and people's faces for no apparent reason. Even though much of the cinematography was nice, this so took me out of the scenes that I can't fathom how it was overlooked when awards were given to the DP. I also was annoyed by his sometimes misdirected rack focusing and blown out exposure on Pip's admittedly pancake makeup white face and other faces at times.
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Utter Hogwash
richard-h-parker12 April 2012
I tried hard to check my own Great Expectations at the door but I could not help make comparisons to David Lean's classic film and of course Dickens superb book. Gillian Anderson was just flat out wrong for the role of Miss Havisham. In the later scenes she actually looked much younger than her ward Estella. I could find no sympathy for any of the central characters, especially Joe Gargery who was played so brilliantly by Bernard Miles in Lean's film. The screenplay deviated so much from the original story that I felt as though certain characters had been invented for this production. I'm sure that viewers who are unfamiliar with Dickens works would find this quite entertaining, but for me the whole thing missed the mark. I sincerely hope this is not the start of a new trend in classic adaptations. The 'Muppets Christmas Carol' is a more faithful (and entertaining) adaptation of the original story.
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Great Expectations
Jackson Booth-Millard9 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I had seen the South Park spoof first, and then I had seen the original film from director Sir David Lean starring Sir John Mills and Sir Alec Guinness, so I was intrigued to see that the BBC were making a three part television version, based on the famous book by Charles Dickens. Basically young Phillip 'Pip' Pirrip (Oscar Kennedy) helps the seemingly dangerous escaped convict Abel Magwitch (Ray Winstone), on the moors, break his chains with a chisel, but also gave him some food, before the police catch him and take him back to prison. Pip is an orphan, but lives with his sister (Collision's Claire Rushbrook) and her blacksmith husband Joe Gargery (EastEnders' Shaun Dooley), and they are excited to hear from Pip's uncle Pumblechook (Mark Addy) that the wealthy and secluded Miss Havisham (Gillian Anderson) wants a young man to come round to her mansion a couple of times a week. Naturally Pip is sent round to enquire about the job, and Miss Havisham does find him a suitable candidate, the role is to play with her adopted daughter Estella (Izzy Meikle-Small), who looks down on his common and poor mannerisms and demeanour. Miss Havisham decides that Pip needs to get somewhere in life, so she grants him the money he needs to start an apprenticeship with Joe as a blacksmith, and this last for seven years until Pip (Douglas Booth) is older. The next thing Pip knows, lawyer Jaggers (David Suchet) tells him that a mystery benefactor, who he must not ask questions about until he or she reveals himself or herself, has given him an apprenticeship in London to learn the ways and mannerisms to become a gentleman. So the young man of great expectations go to the city, and he shares quarters Herbert Pocket (Harry Lloyd), who is there also to help him learn to be more like a gentleman and fit into a posh and higher class society. Pip has learnt a lot in his time, and lost the common accent, and he is looking forward to seeing the now also grown up Estella (Vanessa Kirby), and he gets his chance at a big ball that she is attending. She is reasonably impressed with his efforts to become more civilised in the higher class of people, but she does not seem to have any feelings for him like he does for her, and she confesses that her (step) mother makes her fall for men to create the misery she suffered from her fiancé. Eventually Pip does learn the identity of his benefactor, it is not Miss Havisham, it is in fact Abel Magwitch, because of the kindness he was shown on the moors, the young man is for a while appalled, but eventually this feeling fades. The end sees Pip return to see Joe and try and make well with the people he formally lived with, Miss Havisham ends her life by burning herself alive, and Estella does marry Bentley Drummle (Tom Burke), but she and Pip do share a tender moment seeing the wreckage from the fire. Also starring Jack Roth as Dolge Orlick and Paul Rhys as Compeyson. Booth plays the famous lead character very well, Anderson is somewhat more sympathetic than other versions of the old woman who secludes herself, Winstone gets his time as the first scary then interesting character, and the supporting cast members are all good too. Made for television, this film like mini series sticks to the Victorian setting and illustrates it very well, with some dark undertones and themes to fit the story, it feels like a completely experience in a Dickens tale, and a most watchable one, fantastic period drama. Very good!
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