Created by Tony Jordan and starring Stephen Rea, Tuppence Middleton and Caroline Quentin, the drama series Dickensian ran on BBC television from 2015 until 2016. Each of the twenty episodes is an original reimagining of Charles Dickens’s critically acclaimed novels, bringing together iconic characters from different works and allowing them to interact in new plot lines and scenarios based in the evocative atmosphere of nineteenth-century London.
BookTalk will be hosting two excellent speakers to explore the series, Dickens’ novels, and questions of adaptation for television:
- Prof. Holly Furneaux (School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Cardiff): expert in nineteenth-century literature and academic adviser to Dickensian.
- Dr Ruth McElroy (University of South Wales): expert in television studies and Director of the Creative Industries Research Institute at USW.
There will be a showing of extracts from the show, conversation between Ruth and Holly, and then the opportunity for audience questions and discussion. You may like to read a Dickens novel of your choice, re-read your favourite or even watch Dickensian in preparation for the session.
As usual, the main event will be preceded by a reception with tea, coffee and biscuits at 6.30pm in Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, Maindy Road, Cardiff CF24 4HQ.
About the Authors
Charles John Huffam Dickens (1812–1870) was born in Portsmouth, and was a novelist, journalist and social critic. Born in Portsmouth, he left school to work in a factory when his father was jailed for non-payment of debts. Despite his lack of formal education, Dickens’ ambitions pushed him into the burgeoning world of print and literature, leaden him to write hundreds of articles and short stories, twenty longer works of fiction and numerous lectures and performances. Most notably, Dickens was one of the pioneers of serialized fiction that appeared in instalments, published in monthly numbers or in Victorian magazines. As well as one of the most popular writers of the day, Dickens was a tireless social reformer, campaigning for children’s rights, education and the poor. He began his career in fiction with Sketches by Boz in 1836, but it was The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1836–7) that secured Dickens’s early popularity. Dickens would go on to publish many of the world’s most beloved novels, among them Oliver Twist (1837–9), Bleak House (1852–3), Hard Times (1854), Little Dorrit (1855–7) and Great Expectations (1860–1). In addition to his novels, Dickens published many popular short stories, most of which were directed at the Christmas market—most famously, ‘A Christmas Carol’ (1843) and ‘The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain’ (1848). His last novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was left unfinished upon his death in 1870. He is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era.
Tony Jordan (b. 1957) is a British television writer, who has been listed as one of the most popular screenwriters of modern times. He began his career as a market trader, before commencing writing aged thirty-two. His first job was as a writer for the BBC’s EastEnders, drawing on his own experiences working as a market trader. Jordan went on to write scripts for various TV shows and to create a number Boon, Minder, Eldorado, Thief Takers, Where the Heart Is, The Vanishing Man, Sunburn, HolbyBlue, Moving Wallpaper and Echo Beach. He is the creator of the successful crime caper series Hustle and co-creator of the time-travelling detective serial Life on Mars. In 2007, Jordan set up his own production company, Red Planet Pictures, and received a British Soap Awards ‘Special Achievement Award’. In 2015, he created Dickensian.