29/12/2011

GREAT EXPECTATIONS ON BBC 1...


For its classical Christmas production this year, the BBC has recreated yet another version of the Dickens masterpiece Great Expectations - and what a production it is, from the opening credits which show a white butterfly imbued with glorious black designs, the colour of which eventually bleeds until nothing is left but black decay, to the bleakly grey opening scenes where the orphaned boy, Pip, is clearing the weeds from his family's grave. Beneath a low and leaden sky which bodes of the ominous scenes to come, the escaped convict Magwitch (perfectly played by Ray Winstone who conveys a fascinating mixture of menace and nobility) rises up from the boggy waters to terrorise the shivering bundle of a boy like a burly demon from hell.



There are some wonderful actors in this production's glittering cast of which, most surely for the VV, Gillian Anderson's Miss Havisham is the star.


Although some have been uncomfortable with the apparent youth of this particular Miss Havisham, the VV thinks it a  masterstroke to realise Dicken's anti-heroine as someone so tragic and vulnerable - a woman whose physical and mental life was cruelly arrested when wickedly spurned on her wedding day and whose soul and is now atrophying in the crumbling gothic grandeur of the wonderfully realised Satis House. 



Miss Havisham tells the young Pip that she is the ghost of a bride. Her first appearance is suitably eerie and ethereal, robed as she is in a gleaming white, with white ringlets framing her pallid face and her voice one of childlike innocence. But the cracks and flaking lips, the bluish tinge around her eyes, the festering skin disease that eats away at the flesh of her hands is but the first of the outward signs of the malice seeping from her heart. Surrounded by dusty stuffed animals and maps of a world into which she will never venture again, this anguished beauty plots her revenge while 'nurturing' a friendship between Pip and her adopted daughter, Estella. 



The VV looks forward to the final episode of this tense noir drama tonight, but for those who may not yet have seen it, the first two episodes are now available on BBC iplayer.

And here is the scene in which Miss Havisham interrogates Pip on his first visit to Satis House...



13 comments:

  1. I am gasping and holding my breath in anticipation of seeing this adaptation, which we may not get here in Australia for some time yet (if we're lucky). Who would have thought that Gillian Anderson would transcend from X-Files to period drama so effortlessly. She was amazing in Bleak House. xx

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hope you don't have to wait too long, Debra - it really is an excellent adaptation. And yes, I agree, Gillian Anderson made a wonderful Lady Dedlock in Bleak House.

    ReplyDelete
  3. She was also fab in The Crimson Petal and I LOVED her as Scully too - the woman's a star and this adaptation is, as you say, totally absorbing... I feel like I'm hearing the story for the first time.

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're so right Debs...the production feels so fresh whilst still being totally in period.

    ReplyDelete
  5. A few weeks ago I was wondering why the BBC were doing another version of Great Expectations, but now I understand. I am besotted!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's just so good! The visuals are amazing,Gillian Anderson is brilliant and I am now a little in love with Douglas Booth.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just caught up with the final episode - I'm stunned by Gillian Anderson's performance in her final scene. Such emotional intensity. Amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am excited to see this adaptation! And Gillian Anderson....It looks wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have this recorded and can't wait. I'm a huge GA fan since X files days. Anyone remember House of Mirth? She was great in that too.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Definitely remember (and loved) X Files but not House of Mirth ... Must investigate.

    ReplyDelete
  11. To see a beautiful Miss Haversham, you think, of course, it makes perfect sense. However, the actress who played Estella was too old for the role in my opinion, a problem in the early scenes especially, I commented this on Mme Guillotine's blog. Overall, excellent production, the mood was spot on throughout with some superb acting, esp by Ray Winstone. Well done for crediting the opening titles using the butterfly, the type or thing the Beeb does very well.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with you Mike, re Estella. The whole balance of the relationship between her and Pip was turned on its head for me - by the fact that he was so very beautiful.That was the weakest part of the dramatisation - although Estella was certainly haughty enough.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I hope to share some Victorian events going on next month. We are having a production of Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler and you can search it on facebook as Hedda Gabler DCC for more information. If not I can share you all this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/386330848061352/
    Thank You
    Thea Elvsted

    ReplyDelete