Arena: Dickens On Film

Schedule addition (21 December)

Tuesday 10 January

10.00pm-11.00pm

BBC FOUR

From the magical films of the silent era to the celebrated work of director David Lean and high definition television, Arena: Dickens on Film revisits films and interviews from the archive to answer the question: Why have Dickens’s novels inspired so many hundreds of adaptations on screen?

This co-production with Dickens 2012 not only encapsulates the history of Dickens’s time but also of the 100 years in which his work has survived most acutely on screen.

It is not only the stories, themes and characters of Dickens’s writing that translate so well onto screen; Sergei Eisenstein argued that there is something essentially filmic in Dickens’s unique prose style.

That Dickens’s rapid ‘cutting’ within scenes and from scene to scene coupled with his seamless mixture of the bizarrely comic with the terrifyingly profound was itself proto-cinematic. Dickens wrote the way a camera saw before film had ever been invented and he remains, to this day, the most cinematic of writers.

JB