Bleak House (2005)

Watch Bleak House (2005)

  • TV-PG
  • 2005
  • 1 Season
  • 7.8  (290)

Bleak House is a 15-part television drama series that is based on a novel of the same name by Charles Dickens. The series was first broadcasted on BBC One in the UK and on Masterpiece Theatre in the US in 2005. The series was considered one of the most ambitious productions of the BBC at the time and has been praised for its strong performances, solid direction, and beautiful cinematography.

The plot of the series revolves around a complex web of relationships and intrigues that are centred around a lawsuit known as Jarndyce and Jarndyce, which has been going on for decades. The story unfolds through the eyes of the protagonists, Esther Summerson (played by Anna Maxwell Martin) and John Jarndyce (played by Denis Lawson), who are caught up in the legal battle and its consequences.

Esther is a young orphan who is taken in by her godmother, Lady Dedlock (played by Gillian Anderson). Lady Dedlock is married to a wealthy and powerful baronet, Sir Leicester Dedlock (played by Timothy West), who is also a party to the lawsuit. Esther learns about the case through John Jarndyce, who is her guardian and one of the beneficiaries of the lawsuit. As Esther becomes embroiled in the legal battle, she discovers dark family secrets that threaten to destroy her newfound happiness.

The characters in the series are well-drawn and varied, ranging from the tragic to the comical. Ian Richardson plays the nefarious lawyer, Mr Tulkinghorn, who is determined to uncover the truth about Lady Dedlock and hold her responsible for her past misdeeds. Anthony Cozens plays the hapless law clerk, Guppy, who is hopelessly smitten with Esther.

The series also features some memorable supporting performances, including those of Charles Dance, as the domineering Mr Tulkinghorn, and Warren Clarke, as the corrupt Sir Leicester Dedlock's solicitor, Mr Vholes.

Bleak House is notable for its unusual structure, which alternates between present-day scenes of the legal battle and flashbacks that reveal the characters' pasts. The series is also notable for its beautiful visuals, which evoke the gritty reality of Victorian London as well as the grandeur of the stately homes and countryside.

Overall, Bleak House is a compelling and well-crafted adaptation of one of Dickens' most complex novels. It is a must-watch for anyone who loves period drama, legal thrillers, or slice-of-life stories. The performances are uniformly excellent, the story is engrossing, and the production values are top-notch. This is a series that will stay with you long after the final credits roll.

Bleak House (2005) is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (8 episodes). The series first aired on October 27, 2005.

Bleak House (2005)
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Episode 8
8. Episode 8
November 24, 2005
The moneylender Smallweed has evidence of Lady Dedlock's secret past and intends to use it against her. Cornered, Lady Dedlock makes a terrible decision. Esther and Bucket try desperately to reach her before it is too late. Richard's obsession with Chancery leaves him dangerously ill. Ada is pregnant, but worries he will not live to see the birth of their child. Woodcourt proposes marriage to Esther, but she is torn between her love for him and her commitment to Jarndyce. Then the impossible happens a result in Chancery, but it is one that will astound everyone.
Episode 7
7. Episode 7
November 17, 2005
Esther's feelings for Woodcourt grow stronger, despite her best intentions. Richard and Ada's news causes great concern for Esther and Jarndyce. As Inspector Bucket investigates Tulkinghorn's murder; there is no shortage of suspects. An early arrest appears to wrap the case up quickly, but a spate of poison-pen letters suggests that all is not as it seems. As evidence mounts against Lady Dedlock, Bucket sets a trap for the killer, with astonishing results.
Episode 6
6. Episode 6
November 11, 2005
George meets Tulkinghorn to discuss his demands, but, suspicious of Tulkinghorn's motives, he refuses to hand over the writing sample. Smallweed is desperate to squeeze George for all he can, but Tulkinghorn instructs him to bide his time. Back at the gym, George worries what the future may hold for himself and his assistant Phil Squod. Guppy is still attempting to pursue Esther's interest and pays another visit to an extremely drunken Krook. At the mention of the name Hawdon, Krook allows him a tantalising glimpse of his love letters, but he won't let Guppy get his hands on them.
Episode 5
5. Episode 5
November 10, 2005
Richard's obsession with the Jarndyce case has grown to worrying proportions. John Jarndyce agonizes over whether to keep his feelings for Esther concealed. Meanwhile, Lady Dedlock tells Esther something that will change her life forever. Guppy puts himself at risk when he gets in the way of Tulkinghorn's enquiries. And Tulkinghorn at last has cast-iron proof of Lady Dedlock's guilt, and issues her with a terrible ultimatum.
Episode 4
4. Episode 4
November 4, 2005
Esther falls sick with smallpox; she recovers but is left badly scarred. George has to make an impossible decision when Tulkinghorn instructs the evil moneylender Smallweed to turn up the heat on his debts. Legal clerk Guppy, still besotted with Esther, makes a discovery about his beloved which shocks Lady Dedlock to the core. Guppy's quest for more information takes him to Krook's shop, with explosive results. And Jarndyce is beside himself when tragedy strikes Bleak House.
Episode 3
3. Episode 3
November 3, 2005
A chance encounter in the country raises intriguing questions for Esther and Lady Dedlock. Richard's inability to settle causes a rift with John Jarndyce, much to Ada's dismay. Tulkinghorn finally unearths the identity of the mysterious Nemo. Nemo's old friend, Sergeant George, has the evidence he needs to prove it and Tulkinghorn will stop at nothing to force George to hand it over. But George has even more problems when Gridley turns up on his doorstep, on the run from the law and infected with the fever.
Episode 2
2. Episode 2
October 28, 2005
Despite the grim discovery of Nemos body, Tulkinghorn remains undeterred from his ruthless inquiry into Lady Dedlock's past. As he edges closer to the truth, Lady Dedlock puts her reputation at risk when she pays an undercover visit to Nemo's former haunts. Richard and Ada plan their engagement, but receive an unexpected setback. Esther meets an attractive young doctor named Allan Woodcourt, not realizing that John Jarndyce is becoming increasingly attracted to her himself. Woodcourt has news that comes as a terrible blow to Esther.
Episode 1
1. Episode 1
October 27, 2005
Young orphan Esther Summerson is brought to the High Court of Chancery, where she is thrown together with two Wards of the Court, Richard Carstone and Ada Clare. Both are caught up in the infamous suit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce, which brings nothing but ruin and despair to all it touches. The elegant life of another Jarndyce suitor, the beautiful Lady Dedlock, is turned upside-down when her husband's lawyer, Tulkinghorn, gets wind of a scandalous secret in her past. Esther, Richard and Ada are sent to live at Bleak House, where they receive a friendly welcome from their rich guardian, John Jarndyce. Meanwhile, Tulkinghorn's investigation leads him into the dark underbelly of London, where he searches for Nemo, the mysterious law-writer whose name literally means no one. But when Tulkinghorn decides to pay Nemo a visit, he receives a very nasty surprise...
Where to Watch Bleak House (2005)
Bleak House (2005) is available for streaming on the BBC website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Bleak House (2005) on demand at Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime and Tubi TV.
  • Premiere Date
    October 27, 2005
  • IMDB Rating
    7.8  (290)