Back when BBC was producing epic period dramas, one of them that got an update was Little Dorrit. An eight-part, hour long (or 14-part thirty minute) saga, the story may not be true to the novel, but it IS good.

Little Dorrit (2008) BBC Miniseries Review

Born into poverty and the Marshalsea debtor’s prison, all Amy Dorrit (Claire Foy) knows is this life. She doesn’t know life in a warm and inviting home, but twenty-one years later and all grown up, She’s the only person keeping sanity in her family. Her elder siblings are off doing their own thing, one as a dancer, and her brother racks up gambling debts much like his father. It’s her father (Tom Courtenay), Amy is most attentive to. She does everything for him and is often chastised as the one to bring embarrassment to the family name.

When a job sewing and keeping company for an older woman named Mrs. Clennam (Judy Parfitt) introduces Amy to her son, Arthur (Matthew Macfayden), they set into motion a series of events neither could imagine.

Brilliant and bold, Little Dorrit is yet another British production that deserves high praise. As a girl who hasn’t read Dickens, I cannot say how faithful Andrew Davies script is, but even if it isn’t, the story is absorbing. From the unique perspectives of our characters to the characters themselves, everything pulls you in. I will say, the idea of the secret is more interesting in this one than what the secret turns out to be. Regardless, the production is still memorable, and the acting bringing everyone to life is also fabulous.


‘LITTLE DORRIT’: AN IMPRESSIVE DICKENS MINISERIES WITH CLAIRE FOY. A #British #PeriodDrama production with #MatthewMacfayden and #ClaireFoy. #CharlesDickens #Dickens Click To Tweet
‘LITTLE DORRIT’: AN IMPRESSIVE DICKENS MINISERIES WITH CLAIRE FOY. Review of the 2008 BBC miniseries. All text is © Rissi JC

Like any Dickens story, you may find the inundation of characters a bit heady. And sometimes they are. Some play a more important role than we first assume, and others don’t play much of a role at all outside of being interesting. The actors are all fabulous. From Matthew Macfayden (who had already played Mr. Darcy) to veteran talent like Judy Parfitt or Alun Armstrong. Plus, long before viewers knew her as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown, many of us knew and loved Claire Foy as Amy Dorrit, in this her first TV acting gig. As a newcomer, she plays the role very well, and is well cast.

The story is all immersive and will, at the end of any hour-long episode, make you want to let the next play on. There’s intrigue and danger, conflict and (hints of) romance, too. We get to travel in this story, and see a new kind of experience through Amy’s experience, and like Amy, we meet interesting people and observe how some cannot cope when unexpected things come their way.

More than just intrigue, the story is also a deeper look into connections and which people are genuinely good, and what makes for good connection. Forgiveness also dominates some of the themes and is particularly prominent in the final reveals. Like most of the adapted Dickens’ stories, this one tends to end well for the characters who deserve happiness, while those who don’t, we really don’t see much of in the end, or they get a consequence because of the choices they make, and how they treat others. Surprisingly, while very dark in atmosphere, this does have humor. There are some genuinely funny quips which helps to lighten what is seemingly an otherwise person authentic production.

Not just entertaining, Little Dorrit is also an insightful saga that, quite happily, allows Amy happiness. It’s something we happily root on given how good a character she really is.

You can shop Little Dorrit digitally on Amazon Video; or stream (at publication) with a BritBox add on.


‘LITTLE DORRIT’: AN IMPRESSIVE DICKENS MINISERIES WITH CLAIRE FOY. Review of the 2008 BBC miniseries. All text is © Rissi JC

Content: there is an inference that two same sex characters may be possible lovers. There’s some unkind treatment of characters very undeserving. Characters die (two within hours of each other) and a man, after presumably having sex with her, murders someone (we see her body on a bed). There’s rumors of murder and we see a man knifed several times. The series is TV-14.

Photos: BBC

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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