Dickens on the BBC

What better to conclude the BBC's year-long celebration of books, than a season marking the life and work of one of Britain's most significant writers, Charles Dickens, in the run-up to his 200th birthday."Mark Bell, Commissioning Arts Editor
Date: 17.11.2011     Last updated: 25.03.2014 at 13.21
From 28 November to February 2012, the BBC will celebrate the work of one of Britain’s greatest writers with Dickens on the BBC, a season of documentary, drama and discussion programmes across television and radio.

Culminating Books on the BBC 2011, a year-long focus of books related programming across BBC platforms, Dickens on the BBC heralds the 2012 international celebrations of the bicentenary of the writer’s birth.

From a bold new three-part adaptation of Great Expectations for BBC One to the completion of Dickens’ unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood by writer Gwyneth Hughes on BBC Two and Life-long Dickens fan Armando Iannucci reviewing the development of a revolutionary master story-teller.

The season begins on Monday 28th November with BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week, in which Claire Tomalin's acclaimed new biography Charles Dickens: A life is read by Penelope Wilton. Other highlights from Radio 4 include award-winning writer Ayeesha Menon’s reworking of Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit, set and recorded on location in Mumbai, India and Dickens in London, five short plays based on Charles Dickens' journalism about walking in London, adapted by Michael Eaton to tell the story of the writer’s life.

Commissioning Arts Editor Mark Bell said: "What better to conclude the BBC's year-long celebration of books, than a season marking the life and work of one of Britain's most significant writers, Charles Dickens, in the run-up to his 200th birthday. Dickens on the BBC examines the many aspects of the author as performer, social commentator, observational journalist, husband, story-teller , Christmas cheerleader and contradictory family man, and the new adaptations of his novels show his work to be as vital as it ever was."

Dickens on the BBC sheds light on all aspects of this extraordinarily complex man. Sue Perkins exposes the real Dickens’ family Christmas and, from the perspective of his wife Catherine, looks at their troubled relationship for BBC Two and on BBC Four the prestigious arts documentary strand, Arena revisits films and interviews from the archive to answer the question, why have Dickens’s novels inspired so many hundreds of adaptations on screen?

BBC Radio 3’s regular strands The Verb, The Essay and Nightwaves devote programmes to Dickens and on 1 February, in a special live broadcast from The Radio Theatre, World Book Club on BBC World Service will be in conversation with Dickens' most recent biographer, Claire Tomalin, and actor Simon Callow will read extracts from Great Expectations. BBC One’s Songs Of Praise follows presenter Aled Jones as he visits Rochester Cathedral in Kent, for a seasonal Dickens themed performance by members of the Rochester Cathedral Choir.

Dickens on the BBC is part of Dickens 2012

JB