Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the achievements of the 19th century literary giant, Charles Dickens. George Bernard Shaw said of Little Dorrit that it was “more seditious than Das Kapital”. We can all think of classic Dickens; the gin palaces, grimy narrow lanes, shoe shine boys sitting in the gutters and the terrible city smog. Silas Wake with his peg leg, young Oliver asking for more. But were these figures fictional agents for the radical change that Bernard Shaw suggests? Or was Dickens a great caricaturist but really a conservative at heart? What kind of person was the man Charles Dickens? And what is his political and literary legacy to our age? With Rosemary Ashton is Professor of English at University College London; Michael Slater is Professor of Victorian Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London and editor of The Dent Uniform Edition of Dickens’ Journalism; John Bowen, Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Keele.