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The television mini series Little Dorritt is an adaptation of the Chalres Dickens story of the same name produced by British television station BBC and the U.S. PBS affiliate WGBH Boston. Although critically well received the show failed to become as popular as other recent British costume drama's, such as Cranford and Lark Rise to Candleford.

Like many of the novels of Charles Dickens Little Dorritt was first published in a serialized form in magazines; reflecting the original format writer Andrew Davies produced a script in 14 parts with two 60 minute specials and 12 30 minute episodes. Davies had written in a similar format for the earlier adaptation of Dicken Bleak House. The 14 episodes of Little Dorritt first aired in the U.K. in 2008 and later appeared as part of PBS Masterpiece series in the U.S. in 2009.

First published between 1855 and 1857 Little Dorritt tells a series of intertwining stories based around a group of characters largely based in Marshlea Debtors Prison. The story revolves around the characters of the Dorritt family, including Any Dorritt, played by Clare Foy who has spent her entire life living in the prison because her father cannot clear his debts. Amy works as a seamstress for the Clannam family with whom her life intertwines. Taking in characters as diverse as a French murderer recently released from a Marseille jail and comedic characters such as Edmund Sparkler. The Dorritt family later find they have inherited a fortune and leave the debtors prison for a grand tour of Europe.

Dickens story was largely autobiographical as his own family had spent the early part of his life in a Marshlea prison because of his fathers debts. The TV adaptation won several awards, including a best mini series Emmy. In the U.K. critics claimed the strange scheduling of 60 minute specials to open and close the series made it difficult for viewers to become involved in the show.

BBC
1 Season, 14 Episodes - Canceled
October 26, 2008
Drama
8.3/10
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Little Dorrit Full Episode Guide

  • Mr Merdle's death and the collapse of Merdle's Bank sends shockwaves through London as thousands face financial ruin. Arthur returns to the Marshalsea a prisoner, Amy goes back to her birthplace to look after him as he lies gravely ill, and Rigaud returns to play out his blackmail in the Clennam house.

  • Mr Dorrit returns to Venice a broken man, after a visit to London revives some unwelcome memories. Meanwhile, Arthur warns his mother that she may be in danger from Rigaud, and he is reunited with Amy once more.

  • Romance is in the air as Mrs General starts her campaign to woo Mr Dorrit, and Fanny turns the full beam of her attention on Sparkler. Meanwhile, an unwelcome reminder of the old days comes to haunt Mr Dorrit in Venice.

  • Fanny has stolen the heart of Edmund Sparkler, whose mother is determined to separate them once and for all. Meanwhile, Merdle's Bank is besieged by investors, and Arthur is worried when he sees a suspicious French stranger, the villainous Rigaud, at his mother's house.

  • The Dorrits arrive in Venice, and Fanny renews an old acquaintance with Edmund Sparkler and his redoubtable mother Mrs Merdle. Meanwhile, Amy makes a friend in Pet Gowan, united through their mutual affection for Arthur, and Rigaud scents a deeper connection between the Dorrits and the House of Clennam.

  • Mr Dorrit is released from the Marshalsea after more than twenty years, and takes his family abroad to reinvent themselves as members of society. Miss Wade commissions Rigaud to spy on Pet and Henry Gowan, and he takes the chance to follow the Dorrits abroad and find out what connects them to the House of Clennam.

  • Rigaud introduces himself to the House of Clennam, while Arthur is best man at Pet's marriage to Henry Gowan. Pancks concludes his investigation into the Dorrit family's long incarceration in the Marshalsea Debtors' Prison, and Arthur and Amy break momentous news to Mr Dorrit.

  • Pancks recruits John Chivery to help him solve the mystery that connects the Dorrit family with the House of Clennam, while Arthur proposes to Pet Meagles. Elsewhere, Tattycoram runs away from Twickenham, and Amy resigns herself to a life without the man she loves.

  • Amy accompanies her sister Fanny to meet Mrs Merdle, queen bee of London society. Meanwhile, Rigaud comes into possession of the Clennam papers, and Chivery the turnkey asks Arthur to put in a word for young John with Amy.

  • Amy receives a proposal of marriage which throws her into confusion, Arthur is taken on as a partner in Daniel Doyce's engineering works, and the French villain Rigaud arrives in London.

  • Flintwinch taunts Arthur's mother about the mystery at the heart of the House of Clennam, while Amy discovers that 'a gentleman' has paid off her brother's debts, and Arthur is invited to Twickenham to renew his acquaintance with the lovely Pet Meagles.

  • Suspecting his family's involvement in their ruin, Arthur, having befriended Amy Dorrit, involves himself in her family's affairs. While hoping to pay off Amy's brother's debt and give him the chance to start again, Arthur himself is also planning to start again with a new job, and perhaps renew his love for childhood sweetheart Flora Casby.

Most Popular Little Dorrit Episodes

  • Season 1 Episode 1 Episode 1 10/26/2008

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