14 November 2012 | spicy_demon
Actually a very good modern adaptation!
I entirely disagree with anyone who dislikes this updated version of Dickens classic novel (especially the one negative review so far lodged for this series!)
It was extremely well adapted and re-imagined to instead be about abuse in an old people's home rather than the children's orphanage of the book. That coupled with the inspired pairing of Andrew Simpson (Nickleby) and Linda Bassett (Mrs. Smike) made this a strong and stirring adaptation. In the original book Smike is just a boy, but to give that part to an elderly woman, and such a brilliant and underrated character actress like Bassett, was a genius casting stroke. There was a good rapport between both actors.
I thought as well as the bold plot changes, the rest of the ensemble acting on the whole was uniformly excellent with Adrian Dunbar (the evil Uncle Ralph), Jonathan Harden (the sad-eyed and defeated Mr. Noggs) and the larger than life villain of Mark McDonnell as Mr. Squeers also deserving of mentions.
Anna Wilson-Jones and rising star Hollie Taylor also offered able support in their roles as Miss Knag and Frannie respectively.
The series was also very well directed in the stunning Northern Irish countryside (for the most part) and the script was witty, funny and touching at times too.
This was a superb adaptation of Dickens and the writer Joy Wilkinson should be commended for not just doing another period drama adaptation of Dickens characters in Victorian times, but actually updating the story and putting a modern spin on an old classic. Definitely worth a watch for families across the UK and beyond!