It tells the story of Pip, an orphaned boy raised by his tyrannical sister and soft-touch brother-in-law, who encounters and aids an escaped convict in a graveyard – a meeting which will forever change his life. Great Expectations also features one of Dickens’s most famous characters – that of Miss Havisham, the jilted bride who in inhabits a stately mansion still festooned with the decaying trappings of her wedding.
It’s a story that’s been filmed 16 times in the past in various film and TV incarnations. Notable versions include David Lean’s 1946 version with John Mills as Pip, the 1986 TV series with Anthony Hopkins as escaped convict Magwitch and the most recent 1998 updated version with Robert DeNiro, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ethan Hawke. But queen of the Miss Havishams for me has to be Charlotte Rampling in the 1999 series – icy.
Newell’s version will be an official part of the celebrations which will see new and old programmes and a retrospective at the BFI. Casting’s got to be up shortly if it’s due for next year…. – any ideas?