Bleak House - this autumn on BBC ONE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kenge (Alistair McGowan)
Jarndyce's lawyer, Kenge works tirelessly on the Jarndyce & Jarndyce case.
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.
Bucket (Alun Armstrong)
A detective, initially employed by Tulkinghorn to assist him in the pursuit of Lady Dedlock's secret.
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.
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.
Mrs Rouncewell (Anne Reid)
The stately old housekeeper at Chesney Wold. She is devoted to the Dedlocks.
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.
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.
Mrs Jellyby (Liza Tarbuck)
A philanthropic lady, devoted to her public duties - at the expense of neglect of her home.
Caddy Jellyby (Natalie Press)
Mrs Jellyby's neglected daughter, forced to help out with her mother's charitable enterprises.
Old Mr Turveydrop (Matthew Kelly)
A very gentlemanly man, celebrated for deportment. He takes advantage of his son, preening around and spending his money.
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.