great expectations bbc series

Do we really need a new Great Expectations adaptation? Probably not, but as long as the BBC keeps recycling its costumes, we’ll keep getting more adaptations of Charles Dickens novels. However, BBC’s newly announced adaptation of Great Expectations has a writer that could give the Dickens classic a gritty edge. Steven Knight, best known for creating the stylish 20th century gangster drama Peaky Blinders, is set to write and executive produce the six-part BBC One/FX limited series adaptation of Great Expectations following the success of his dark 2019 A Christmas Carol.

Deadline reports that Steven Knight is reuniting with his Taboo and A Christmas Carol collaborators to develop a new adaptation of another Charles Dickens classic. Knight is writing and executive producing a six-part BBC One/FX limited series adaptation of Great Expectations, the 1860 coming-of-age story of an orphan named Pip. Ridley Scott, Tom Hardy, Dean Baker, David W. Zucker, and Kate Crowe are among the high-profile executive producers for Knight’s Great Expectations.

The news comes on the heels of Knight’s successful adaptation of A Christmas Carol last year starring a very mean-looking Guy Pearce. Knight’s reimagining the Christmas classic as a “dark, nighmarish horror movie,” as described by /Film’s Chris Evangelista, suggests that his take on Great Expectations may have a bit of an edge to it compared to previous iterations. While Knight is an avowed Dickens fan, he also has a stylized, hypermasculine, hyperviolent approach to period dramas — Peaky Blinders being the prime example. While you can generally expect the same old stuffy costume drama from BBC series, like the recent 2011 BBC/PBS Great Expectations miniseries, Knight’s involvement and his past work suggests we could see a more gritty spin on the classic. That and the partnership between BBC and the more envelope-pushing cable network FX, rather than the more subdued PBS, makes me have — well — great expectations for the series.

“Adapting Dickens’ work is a delight. I chose Great Expectations as the next work to bring to the screen not just because of the timeless characters, but also because of the very timely story. A story of class mobility and class intransigence, told through an intensely emotional and personal first person narrative. As the son of a Blacksmith myself, Pip’s journey from the forge into society is a very special one to me,” Knight said in a statement.

Eric Schrier, the president of FX Entertainment, added, “FX is honored to begin the next chapter of collaboration with Steven Knight, Ridley Scott, Tom Hardy and their teams as they reunite for this modern adaption of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Their inaugural Dickens adaptation, A Christmas Carol, was a great success both creatively and commercially. We want to thank our partners at the BBC, Scott Free and Hardy Son & Baker for their support and can’t wait to get to work on this project.”

Production on Great Expectations is not expected to begin until next year.

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