12th annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest Celebrate Black History Month PBS 45 & 49 Digital
PBS 45 & 49 links

Masterpiece Theatre “Bleak House”

Sundays at 9 p.m.

Charles Dickens’ complex tale of young love, murder and the quest for a mystery-man’s identity unfolds in a sumptuous new six-part adaptation by celebrated screenwriter Andrew Davies. Masterpiece Theatre’s Bleak House, starring Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”), Charles Dance (“The Jewel in the Crown”) and other masters of Dickensian disguise, airs on PBS 45 & 49 Sundays, Jan. 22-Feb. 26 at 9 p.m.

An epic feast of characters and storylines, Bleak House features some of the most famous plot twists in literary history, including a case of human spontaneous combustion and an infamous inheritance dispute that is tied up for generations in the dysfunctional English courts, while lawyers consume the assets of the estate.

At its heart, Bleak House is the story of the icily beautiful Lady Dedlock (Anderson), who nurses a dark secret, and the merciless lawyer Mr. Tulkinghorn (Dance), who seeks to uncover it.

The cast of supporting characters contains some of Dickens’ most famous creations: Smallwood, the evil moneylender; Krook, the cool police inspector at the center of fiction’s first-ever whodunit; and Little Jo, the young crossing sweeper, whose tragic death almost brought Victorian England to a standstill.

For Davies — generally regarded as the master of literary adaptations, including Anthony Trollope’s The Way We Live Now and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice — taking on Dickens was a mixed blessing: “Dickens gives you such strong lines of dialogue and there are all these wonderful, grotesque characters you can really run with,” says Davies. “But plot-wise it’s a nightmare.”


Episode 1 • Sunday, Jan. 22, 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
The wards of the notorious lawsuit of Jarndyce and Jarndyce come to Bleak House to live with John Jarndyce, together with orphan Esther Summerson. Nemo, a destitute copyist in the case, dies, but not before attracting the intense interest of Lady Dedlock and her husband’s malevolent lawyer Tulkinghorn.

Episode 2 • Sunday, Jan. 29, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Ada and Richard, the two wards in the Jarndyce case, fall in love but can’t yet marry as Richard is having trouble finding a career. Lady Dedlock hears of Nemo’s death and visits his pauper’s grave in disguise, because he is someone who once meant much to her.

Episode 3 • Sunday, Feb. 5, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Pursuing a cache of love letters purloined by Krook, an alcoholic junk dealer, Tulkinghorn closes in on the true identity of Nemo and his mysterious relationship to Lady Dedlock. A new mystery emerges in Esther’s identity: Is she really an orphan, or is one of her parents still alive?

Episode 4 • Sunday, Feb. 12, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Disaster strikes in several forms as Esther contracts smallpox, one of the characters bursts into flames, and the moneylender Smallweed acquires the love letters once owned by Nemo. As Richard becomes dangerously obsessed with the Jarndyce case, Esther has a fateful meeting with Lady Dedlock.

Episode 5 • Sunday, Feb. 19, 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Having acquired the incriminating love letters from Smallweed, Tulkinghorn reveals to Lady Dedlock that he knows all about her relationship to Nemo. Recovered from smallpox, though disfigured and spurned by an unwelcome former suitor, Esther receives a new and unexpected proposal of marriage.

Episode 6 • Sunday, Feb. 26, 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Though now engaged, an old flame reappears in Esther’s life, as the complex plot draws to a close: for evil Tulkinghorn; for poor Lady Dedlock; for wretched Richard and his secret bride, Ada; and for the interminable, star-crossed Jarndyce and Jarndyce lawsuit itself.



Esther Summerson Anna Maxwell Martin (North & South, Enduring Love)
Richard Carstone Patrick Kennedy (Cambridge Spies)
Ada Clare Carey Mulligan (Pride & Prejudice, 2005)
John Jarndyce Denis Lawson (Star Wars)
Harold Skimpole Nathaniel Parker (Inspector Lynley Mysteries)
Lady Dedlock Gillian Anderson (The X Files, The House of Mirth, Tristan Shandy)
Sir Leicester Timothy West (Inspector Lynley Mysteries, King Lear)
Mr. Tulkinghorn Charles Dance (Gosford Park, The Jewel in the Crown)
Mr. Tangle Sevan Stephan
Mr. Kenge Alistair McGowan
Guppy Burn Gorman
Nemo John Lynch (In the Name of the Father, Sliding Doors)
Miss Flite Pauline Collins (Shirley Valentine, Upstairs Downstairs)
Jo Harry Eden (Oliver Twist, 2005)
Krook Johnny Vegas (Happiness)
Snagsby Sean McGinley (Butcher Boy, The General, Michael Collins, Braveheart)
Clamb Tom Georgeson (The Land Girls)
Allan Woodcourt Richard Harrington
Hortense Lilo Baur (Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason)
Mrs. Rouncewell Anne Reid (Miss Marple)
Rosa Emma Williams
Mrs. Jellyby Liza Tarbuck (The Hound of the Baskervilles)
Caddy Jellyby Nathalie Press (My Summer of Love)
Chancellor Ian Richardson (Murder Rooms, Gormenghast, House of Cards)
Miss Barbary Kelly Hunter (The Luzhin Defence, Perfect Strangers)
Little Esther Ruby Williams
Usher Anthony Cozens
Gridley Tony Haygarth (Hornblower)
Mrs. Pardiggle Roberta Taylor
Brickmaker Cosh Omar
Neckett Rod Arthur (Prime Suspect I)
Harriet Lisa Hammond (Quills)
Pawnbroker Andy Linden (Oliver Twist, 2005)
Jenny Charlie Brooks
Second Man Tim Bruce
Mr Bayham Badger Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter, Gormenghast)
Mrs Badger Joanna David (He Knew He Was Right, The Way We Live Now)
Boythorn Warren Clarke (A Respectable Trade)
Coroner Peter Guinness (Rhodes)
Clergyman Paul Sirr (Far from the Madding Crowd)
Servant London Lodgings Emily Jewell
Prince Turveydrop Bryan Dick (Master and Commander, Foyle's War)
Old Mr. Turveydrop Matthew Kelly
Barrister Brownlow Alastair Galbraith
Landlady Amelda Brown
Tom Neckett Billy Hill (Band of Brothers)
Charley Neckett Katie Angelou
Polly Sally Leonard
Vicar Keith Bartlett (Truly Madly Deeply)
Policeman Dominic Coleman (Dead Gorgeous)
Mr. Chadband Robert Pugh (Master and Commander)
Mrs. Chadband Catherine Tate (Miss Marple)
Guster Michelle Tate
Bucket Alun Armstrong (David Copperfield, Aristocrats)
Old Woman Mary Sheen
Sergeant George Hugo Speer (Warrior Queen, The Full Monty)
Phil Squod Michael Smiley
Smallweed Phil Davis (Vera Drake, White Teeth)
Judy Smallweed Loo Brealey
Mr. Rouncewell Tim Dantay (Inspector Lynley)
Mrs Woodcourt Di Botcher (Tipping the Velvet)
Young Smallweed Levi Hayes (Oliver Twist, 2005)
Mercury Richard Cant (The Way We Live Now)
Policeman Outside Krook’s Benedict Martin
Countryman Alex Blake
Little Girl Lila Sharp
Mr. Grubble Patrick Monckton
Mr. Vholes Dermot Crowley (Dead Gorgeous)
Deal Innkeeper Barry Ewart
Mrs. Guppy Sheila Hancock
Policeman Outside Tulkinghorn’s Howard Coggins
Mr. Growler Brian Pettifer (Vanity Fair)
Constable At Dedlock’s Richard Pettyfer
Fortnum John Sheahan (Hornblower)
Lawyer Tony Guilfoyle (The Murder of Stephen Lawrence)
Stable Boy Ricky Nixon
Policeman At Snagsby’s Benedict Martin
Constable At Station Jack Brough



Visit Masterpiece Theatre's Bleak House online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/masterpiece/

Copyright©2001-2006, Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc. All rights reserved.
Join PBS 45 & 49! KeyBank Timken