Great Expectations

Watch Great Expectations

  • TV-PG
  • 1999
  • 1 Season
  • 7.5  (8,103)

Great Expectations is a television mini-series drama adapted from the classic novel of the same title by Charles Dickens. The show premiered in 2011 in the United Kingdom on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) channel, and it depicted the various misfortunes and events that transpired in the life of an orphan boy named Pip.

Ray Winstone, a well-known British actor, starred in the show as the main character - Abel Magwitch. The story began in the early 19th century, and it followed Pip, played by Douglas Booth, from his humble beginnings as an orphaned boy in the rural marshes of Kent to his transformation into a gentleman in the bustling city of London.

Great Expectations is a coming-of-age story that explores themes such as social class, unrequited love, and the corrupting influence of wealth and ambition. The character of Pip is introduced as a young boy who lives with his hot-tempered sister and her kind-hearted husband, Joe Gargery, who is a blacksmith. One day, while visiting his parents' graves in the marshes, Pip encounters an escaped convict, Abel Magwitch, who threatens him into bringing him food and a file to remove his chains. Despite being frightened by the convict, Pip is moved by Magwitch's gratefulness when he receives the food, and he grows to feel pity for him.

The events that follow soon shape Pip's destiny in ways he could never have imagined. His life takes an unexpected turn when he is invited to Satis House, the grand but decaying mansion of the eccentric Miss Havisham, played by Gillian Anderson. Miss Havisham is a wealthy spinster who has never recovered from being jilted on her wedding day, and she uses Pip as a tool to exact her revenge on men by encouraging her ward, Estella, played by Vanessa Kirby, to toy with his affections.

As Pip goes to increasingly greater lengths to transform himself into a gentleman in the hopes of winning Estella's heart, he becomes blind to the truth about her and the manipulative intentions of those around him. He receives some unexpected help from Magwitch, who reveals himself to be a wealthy benefactor who has been secretly paying for his education and lifestyle, and who has great plans for him.

Great Expectations is a beautifully crafted adaptation of Dickens' classic novel, and its impressive cast, stunning cinematography, and gripping plot make it a must-watch for fans of period dramas. The realization of Pip's character arc, and his moral realization that wealth and status are not everything, is a deeply satisfying and poignant conclusion to this engaging and memorable story.

Overall, Great Expectations is an epic and moving story that touches the heart and captivates the imagination. Its blend of endearing characters, intricate plot twists, and richly drawn historical settings make it a true masterpiece of television drama. Fans of Dickens, British period dramas, and sophisticated storytelling will find much to enjoy in this outstanding BBC production.

Great Expectations is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (6 episodes). The series first aired on April 12, 1999.

Great Expectations
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Episode 6
6. Episode 6
December 13, 1981
Magwitch is captured and sentenced to death. Pip later returns to the village where he grew up, now older and wiser.
Episode 5
5. Episode 5
November 29, 1981
Pip is heartbroken to learn that Estella is to be married and attempts to rescue Miss Havisham from a fire.
Episode 4
4. Episode 4
April 12, 1999
The past becomes present for Pip after he visits Miss Havisham.
Great Expectations
3. Great Expectations
April 8, 2012
Pip wants nothing to do with Magwitch and rushes to confront Miss Havisham. At Satis House he learns that Estella may be lost to him. Back in London, Wemmick warns him that the penalty for Magwitch's return from Australia will be hanging. Now Pip must help him escape.
Episode 2
2. Episode 2
April 12, 1999
Episode Two begins as young Pip?s future ? despite his desire for an education and change in his status ? is being drawn up: he will become Joe?s apprentice at the forgery. As Pip (Ioan Gruffudd) grows from a boy to a young man, there seems little hope that his dreams will ever be fulfilled until he is visited one day by a lawyer, Jaggers (Ian McDiarmid). Jaggers informs Pip that he has an anonymous benefactor: Pip may accept the chance offered to him to travel to London and live and be educated as a gentleman, but it is a condition of acceptance that the benefactor?s identity remain concealed. Pip mistakenly assumes that Miss Havisham is responsible for this change in his fortune. He still believes that he is in love with Estella (Justine Waddell), and now considers that he has a real chance of marrying her one day.
Episode 1
1. Episode 1
April 12, 1999
Young Pip (Gabriel Thomson) lives with his tyrranical sister (Lesley Sharp) and her blacksmith husband, Joe. Joe will always care for Pip, but his wife's exacting criticism and harsh tongue forge an extra bond between the kindly blacksmith and the young boy. A nightmarish encounter with an escaped convict, Magwitch, (Bernard Hill) is a monumental event in Pip's childhood, as is his enforced visit to the stately Satis House.There he meets rich, eccentric Miss Havisham (Charlotte Rampling) who lives alone with her adopted daughter, Estella (Gemma Gregory). Pip is lured and repelled by the young Estella, who seems to him proud and rude, but is, unarguably, exceptionally beautiful. Estella mocks Pip for his humble status so that he longs even more to be rich and educated - as she is. Episode One draws to a close as a confused and unhappy Pip is informed by Miss Havisham that his company at Satis House will no longer be required, as Estella is soon to go to school. Challenged to a fight by a spirited but unidentified young man in the grounds of the house, Pip and returns home more dismayed than ever.
Where to Watch Great Expectations
Great Expectations is available for streaming on the BBC website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Great Expectations on demand at Amazon Prime, Vudu and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    April 12, 1999
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (8,103)