Nothing suits the dark, cold, wet and windy nights of November better than a bit of Dickens. With a gale howling outside and the days getting ever shorter, it’s the best time of year to lose yourself in the murky complexities of a really good Dickens plot.
A few years ago I heard Colin Dexter, the author of the Inspector Morse novels, speaking at the Woodstock literary festival at Blenheim Palace. His novels are famous for having been adapted for television, starring John Thaw as the cultured but lugubrious inspector. Someone in the audience asked Colin Dexter how he felt about having his work adapted for television. I can’t remember his precise response, although it was certainly favourable, but he did go on to say that he thought the BBC adaptation of Bleak House was the “best adaptation of the greatest novel in the English language.” Wow – high praise indeed!
It is certainly extremely good. We’re currently watching it for the second time, this time with our teenage son. The screenplay, by Andrew Davies, is tight and keeps the action moving, the casting is spot on and the overall effect is one of mystery and suspense with a real human story at its heart. I love the novel, I’ve read it about three times, but I also love this adaptation which does Dickens justice.