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24 September 2014
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Bleak House
Anna Maxwell Martin in Bleak House

Bleak House - this autumn on BBC ONE


Who's who


Esther Summerson (Anna Maxwell Martin)

Our heroine: Esther is employed as a companion to Ada Clare and goes to live at Bleak House. Raised by her aunt, Esther's parentage is a mysterious secret, which she eventually discovers at great cost.

Bleak House Carey Mulligan in Bleak House


Ada Clare (Carey Mulligan)

Ada is a ward of the court, her fortunes tied up in the protracted case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce. She is an orphan – and is sent to live at Bleak House under the wing of John Jarndyce.

Bleak House Patrick Kennedy as Richard


Richard Carstone (Patrick Kennedy)

Like Ada, Richard is an orphan, and a ward of Chancery, taken into Bleak House by John Jarndyce. He is good-natured and well-meaning, and soon falls in love with Ada, but is gradually consumed by his prospects of great fortune in the Jarndyce case.

Bleak House Denis Lawson as Jarndyce


John Jarndyce (Denis Lawson)

Generous and caring, John Jarndyce becomes guardian to the young wards of court Ada and Richard, and develops a deep love for Esther.

Bleak House Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock


Lady Dedlock (Gillian Anderson)

Married to Sir Leicester Dedlock, Lady Dedlock is proud, aristocratic and icy cool. Behind the studied poise, Lady Dedlock hides a secret which could ruin her.

Bleak House Timothy West as Sir Leicester Dedlock


Sir Leicester Dedlock (Timothy West)

A representative of one of the great country families, a baronet - and everything that is aristocratic and noble. He knows nothing of his wife's secret past, but loves her dearly.

Bleak House Charles Dance in Bleak House


Tulkinghorn (Charles Dance)

Faithful lawyer to Sir Leicester, Tulkinghorn discovers that Lady Dedlock is hiding something, and will not rest until he has unearthed her secret and has her in his power.

Bleak House Johnny Vegas in Bleak House


Krook (Johnny Vegas)

An old and eccentric man; a a proprietor of a rag and bottle shop whose love of collecting piles of old legal documents is surpassed only by his passion for gin.

Bleak House John Lynch in Bleak House


Nemo (John Lynch)

A shadowy figure; a law-writer, up to his eyes in debt and addicted to opium, who lodges with Mr Krook. His true identity is not known, but it is clear to many that he is a gentleman who has fallen on hard times.

Bleak House Pauline Collins as Miss Flite


Miss Flite (Pauline Collins)

Krook's other lodger, the peculiar Miss Flite is another long-serving suitor in Chancery. She has all but given up on the prospect of ever getting a result, but displays tenderness towards Esther, Ada and Richard.

Bleak House Nat Parker in Bleak House


Harold Skimpole (Nat Parker)

Jarndyce's good friend, Skimpole is a brilliant, vivacious, sentimental, but thoroughly selfish man. He claims to be naïve, and like a child, but is actually very skilled at manipulating the kindness of those around him into paying off his ever-accruing debts.

Bleak House Richard Harrington in Bleak House


Allan Woodcourt (Richard Harrington)

A handsome Welsh surgeon, who is never going to make any money since he treats the poor dwellers of London's slums as fairly as he does the patients who can actually pay him for his services. He takes to Esther immediately upon meeting her.

Bleak House Alistair McGowan in Bleak House


Kenge (Alistair McGowan)

Jarndyce's lawyer, Kenge works tirelessly on the Jarndyce & Jarndyce case.

Bleak House Burn Gorman in Bleak House


William Guppy (Burn Gorman)

A lawyer's clerk, in the employ of Kenge and Carboys, who falls in love with Esther when he first meets her. He is perennially dogged by comic mishaps and misfortunes, usually of his own making.

Bleak House Alun Armstrong as Bucket


Bucket (Alun Armstrong)

A detective, initially employed by Tulkinghorn to assist him in the pursuit of Lady Dedlock's secret.

Bleak House Phil Davis as Smallweed and Lou Brealy as Judy


Smallweed (Phil Davis)

An old, evil moneylender, entirely selfish and consumed by greed. Smallweed becomes engaged in Tulkinghorn's nefarious dealing and particularly enjoys tormenting George with his debts.

Bleak House Hugo Speer as Sergeant George


Sergeant George (Hugo Speer)

An ex-soldier, he now owns a shooting gallery and gym. He is a noble man, with great dignity, but crippled by his debts to Smallweed.

Bleak House Anne Reid as Mrs Rouncewell


Mrs Rouncewell (Anne Reid)

The stately old housekeeper at Chesney Wold. She is devoted to the Dedlocks.

Bleak House Emma Williams in Bleak House


Rosa (Emma Williams)

Lady Dedlock's sweet-natured maid. A village beauty with whom Lady Dedlock develops a close and caring relationship - almost like a mother to a daughter.


Hortense (Lilo Baur)

Lady Dedlock's French maid, sacked for her fiery, Gallic temper and insolent manners. She is employed by Tulkinghorn in his attempts to bring down Lady Dedlock.

Bleak House Warren Clarke as Boythorn


Lawrence Boythorn (Warren Clarke)

The impetuous, hearty friend of John Jarndyce. He lives in Lincolnshire, near to Chesney Wold, and is engaged in an interminable row about land rights of way with his neighbour Sir Leicester.

Bleak House Liza Tarbuck in Bleak House


Mrs Jellyby (Liza Tarbuck)

A philanthropic lady, devoted to her public duties - at the expense of neglect of her home.

Bleak House Natalie Press in Bleak House


Caddy Jellyby (Natalie Press)

Mrs Jellyby's neglected daughter, forced to help out with her mother's charitable enterprises.

Bleak House Matthew Kelly as Turveydrop


Old Mr Turveydrop (Matthew Kelly)

A very gentlemanly man, celebrated for deportment. He takes advantage of his son, preening around and spending his money.

Bleak House Charlie Brooks in Bleak House


Jenny (Charlie Brooks)

A brick maker's wife, living in slum cottages near Bleak House. She suffers badly from her appalling living conditions and poverty.


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