- 1 Season
Great Expectations is a Charles Dickens epic novel adapted for television in a co-production between the British network BBC and the American PBS series Masterpiece. Produced and broadcast in 2011 the epic novel was split into three parts by screenwriter Sarah Phelps and director Brian Kirk; broadcast initially by the BBC as part of its Christmas period schedule the series stars Gillian Anderson and Ray Winstone. Controversy over one of the best loved novels by Dickens was generated with the casting of Anderson as the jilted obsessive Miss Haversham who causes problems in the lives of those she crosses. The three episodes of Great Expectations were broadcast as 60 minute parts for a total running time of just under three hours. The series opens in the 19th century with the character of Pip shown as a young boy living with his sister and her blacksmith husband, Joe. Pip spends a large amount of his time walking and playing on the marshes surrounding the family home where he meets an escaped convict, Magwitch who tells him to bring a file to remove his shackles. In an act of kindness Pip also brings food for the convict; returning to the marshes Pip witnesses a fight between Magwitch and another escaped convict, later revealed to be Compeyson. Pip spends time with the reclusive Miss Haversham and her adopted daughter Estella whom Pip falls in love with. When an adult Pip is taken to London by the lawyer Jaggers and given money to become a gentleman; believing Miss Haversham to be his mysterious beneficiary Pip longs to begin a relationship with Estella. The convict Magwitch later returns to London from Australia and reveals himself to be Pip's beneficiary after being impressed by his act of kindness on the marshes. Pip must now help Magwitch escape and hope to free Estella from an unhappy marriage.