David Copperfield (TV Mini-Series 1986)

TV Mini-Series   |    |  Drama

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David Copperfield (1986) Poster

A gentle orphan discovers life and love in an indifferent adult world.


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18 September 2013 | TheLittleSongbird
| One of the best adaptations of David Copperfield
A brilliant adaptation, along with the 1999 and 1935 versions it is one of the best adaptations of possibly one of Charles Dickens' best books. Dickens is very difficult to adapt, and David Copperfield while not as huge as Our Mutual Friend and Bleak House and not with as many subplots is no exception to that. His work is difficult to adapt because of how he wrote about the aesthetics and such of the time; he had a mix of funny comedy, genuine foreboding and heart-breaking tragedy that not all adaptations of his work bring out entirely successfully; and the question of the characters being believable, with the villains not being too camp, the female heroines/characters not being bland and the side characters not being too much like grotesque caricatures.

Back to this David Copperfield, it is atmospheric without being too bleak and sumptuous without being too clean, it's beautifully shot as well. The music is one of the more appealing music scores of any David Copperfield adaptation, haunting and beautiful as one would want. The dialogue flows naturally, is succinct and easy to understand while capturing Dickens' spirit and stylistic flavour, while the story is not too rushed or draggy- even with the story stretched over 10 episodes-, is faithful to the book and Dickens and is comprehensible.

The cast are uniformly strong. Colin Hurley is an identifiable David, a softer interpretation than some but it works and he isn't too bland. Extra marks also for handsomeness and a real effort to make all three Davids alike. The other two younger boys as the character engage too. Standing out in particular in the cast were Simon Callow's unforgettably funny Micawber, Paul Brightwell whose Uriah Heep is an absolute weasel and Oliver Cotton's cruelly chilling and vily cold Murdstone. Brenda Bruce is very good as Betsy Trotwood, and John Savident is one of the more memorable Creakles. Natalie Ogle is beautiful and innocent and Sandra Payne's Mrs Micawber is warm and funny.

Overall, brilliant and one of the best David Copperfield adaptations. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

19 October 1986



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