Literary Locations of Dickensian London
Dickensian is not a novel but a TV series that was shown on the BBC some years ago. A complex story was told in lots of half hours episodes which I think diluted the pace and story a great deal. It peaked my interest so much however that I got the DVD and am so pleased I did.
Dickensian tells the story where several of Dicken’s characters from various novels, all live in the same place, know each other and become involved with each other. All in ways that cross over from one novel to another.
The novels covered include Bleak House, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twiste. Marley, from A Christmas Carol is found murdered in the snow. Mr Bucket, the detective from Bleak House comes to investigate. He is seen eating pies in the Three Cripples pub made by Bob Crachit’s wife. Bob Crachit, from A Chritmas Carol works for Marley and he soon becomes a suspect.
Great Expectations meets Bleak House
Meanwhile, up the road, in the large mansion house, Miss Haversham from Great Expectations is preparing for the funeral of her father. She is now a rich woman for all the money and the brewery come to her. That causes problems however but she finds solace with her friend Honoria from Bleak House.
The Three Cripples pub
The Three Cripples pub sees these characters from both ends of the spectrum meet and their lives collide. In the pub, we often see Fagin and Oliver Sykes. Nancy was seen near to Marley’s house not long before he died so she becomes a suspect. However, Bill Sykes is known to be a violent man. The Inspector Bucket finds a wallet of the dead man, now in an Old Curiosity Shop. Turns out that one of Fagin’s thieves brought it in……
The mix of novels and story threads is very cleverly done and the nuances of each novel are spot on. I think it obviously helps if you have read some or all of the novels as you ge so much more from the references. However, even if you haven’t read any Dickens at all, it’s a good story with lots of wonderful scene setting, a gothic drama and something perfect for the dark winter nights.
The way the stories moulded together was genious. Who would imagine seeing Marley and Scrooge drink in the same inn as Miss Haversham and Fagin? The friendship between Honoria from Bleak House was wonderfully done. Seamless.
The pub and the Old Curiosity shop were the places where all the characters met at some point in the story. The streets were built on an indoor set but the snow, the cobble stones and the horse carriages were neatly done to create a perfect Dickensian feel. I don’t like oysters but when the oyster stalls did good business on the street corner, I was fascinated and almost wanted to try one. Lucky for me, Inspector Bucket would often go and buy tea from one of them so I could imagine that instead.
There is so much detail in this TV series. So much care taken to get all the novels right and blend the characters and plots seamlessly together.
THIS is the Dickensian trail you have to go on!