Kent Film Office 
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Great Expectations (2011)

 

Great Expectations featuring Douglas Booth, Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Vanessa Kirby

Great Expectations featuring Douglas Booth, Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Vanessa Kirby © BBC

Directed By: Brian Kirk

Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & Sarah Phelps (Adaptation)

Starring: Gillian Anderson, David Suchet, Ray Winstone, Douglas Booth & Harry Lloyd.

Kent Locations Used: St Thomas A Beckett Church in Fairfield

Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, Bleak House) and David Suchet (Poirot) are set to star alongside Ray Winstone (Nil By Mouth) and Douglas Booth (Worried About the Boy) in a new adaptation of Great Expectations, to be shown on BBC One over Christmas.

Oscar Kennedy as Young Pip

Oscar Kennedy as Young Pip © BBC Photo Library

The three part series forms the centrepiece of the BBC’s celebration of Dickens as we move into 2012 and the bicentenary of his birth. It was written by Sarah Phelps, who adapted Oliver Twist for the channel in 2007. The most recent version of the novel to have been shot by the BBC was in 1999 and starred Ioan Gruffudd as Pip and Charlottte Rampling as Miss Havisham. This version aims to capture the romance whilst giving it a thrilling edge.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it tells of young orphan Phillip Pirrip (Pip) who lives with his sister and her husband, the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery. Local spinster Miss Havisham requests his company at her home where she entertains herself by encouraging her adopted daughter Estella to be cruel to the young boy.  As he grows up, Pip’s circumstances change after the visit from Mr Jaggers who brings news that an unknown benefactor has left a substantial fortune on the condition that the boy is educated as a gentleman. Consequently, Pip travels to London where he lodges with Herbert Pocket, a boy from his youth and it is there that Pip finally learns the truth about his benefactor.

An interesting piece of trivia for Dickens fans of Dickens is the fact that the role of Herbert Pocket, Pip’s friend in London, is played by none other than Charles Dickens’s great, great, great grandson Harry Lloyd, who also featured in a remake of David Copperfield starring a young Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). Filming took place near Fairfield, at the isolated St Thomas A Becket Church. Situated on Romney Marsh, it was the perfect setting for the bleak opening scenes of the novel where Pip visits the graves of his parents. Another Kentish church, St James’ at Cooling on the marshes near the Hoo Peninsula , inspired Dickens to write this dramatic scene which also introduces Pip’s nemesis, prisoner Magwitch.

Great Expectations can be seen on BBC1 from Tuesday 27 December  at 9pm.

Links

For more information about filming in Kent please contact: filmoffice@kent.gov.uk 

For more information about the programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b018wmhr

For more information about Thomas A Becket Church in Fairfield: http://www.villagenet.co.uk/rotherlevels/villages/fairfield.php

For more inspiration about St James’ Church in Cooling: http://www.coolingchurch.org.uk/page2.htm