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New BBC series Dickensian 'like really brilliant fan fiction'

Published 25/12/2015

Sophie Rundle plays Honoria Barbary from Dickens's Bleak House
Sophie Rundle plays Honoria Barbary from Dickens's Bleak House

Dickensian, the new BBC series featuring Charles Dickens's characters, is "like really brilliant fan fiction" according to actress Sophie Rundle.

The 20-part drama is based in a Victorian street populated by characters such as Jacob Marley, Little Nell and a young Miss Havisham.

The show is the brainchild of EastEnders writer Tony Jordan.

Rundle, who plays Honoria Barbary from Dickens's Bleak House, said: "It's a clever idea, it's one of those ones that when you say it to people they go, 'Oh yeah! Why have we not done that before?'

"You read Great Expectations and you want to know what happened to Miss Havisham when she was younger, and I think it makes total sense. It's such a joy. It's like really brilliant fan fiction."

Tuppence Middleton, who plays Miss Amelia Havisham from Great Expectations, added: "Dickens writes so well and writes women so beautifully, and Miss Havisham was a character I was familiar with and loved in Great Expectations, and the idea to play her younger was really exciting.

"I just have an inkling it would be something Dickens would be proud of."

But although she said the period costume had helped her get into the character, Rundle had some reservations about the restrictive dresses.

She said: "The novelty wears off quite quickly. When you first put it on you're like, 'I feel like a princess!' - and then an hour later, you're like: 'Ow'.

"No wonder women were so repressed for so long. It's quite hard to move around. You take an age to sit anywhere or move through doors. That's why they fainted so much."

:: Dickensian starts on December 26 on BBC One at 7pm.

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