Gillian Anderson cuts a ghostly figure as Miss Havisham in the BBC’s Christmas adaptation of Great Expectations.
Ray Winstone plays the convict Magwitch and David Suchet is Jaggers the lawyer in the three-part period drama which promises to be one of the highlights of the festive schedule.
The adaptation “presents the heart and grit of Charles Dickens at his very best”, according to the BBC.
Anderson, the American actress who made her name in The X Files, is no stranger to Dickens dramatisations. She won acclaim for her portrayal of Lady Dedlock in the BBC’s Bleak House in 2005.
Her performance is sure to be measured against that of Helena Bonham Carter, who is playing Miss Havisham in a rival production to be released in cinemas next year.
Winstone said he was delighted to be involved. “Great Expectations is my favourite novel, and I’m thrilled to be playing Magwitch. I’ve wanted to play him for ages,” he said.
The BBC One drama has been adapted by Sarah Phelps, who was also behind the Corporation’s 2007 version of Oliver Twist.
This year's BBC’s Christmas programming will feature another classic adaptation: a feature-length version of The Borrowers, the much-loved children’s story written by Mary Norton. Starring Victoria Wood, Stephen Fry and Christopher Eccleston, it will update the action to the modern day.
Sir David Jason makes a return to comedy in The Royal Bodyguard, as a former soldier accidentally put in charge of Buckingham Palace security.
Absolutely Fabulous is back for two new episodes, reuniting Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as Edina and Patsy, while Robbie Coltrane, Rob Brydon and John Hurt are among the actors lending their voices to The Gruffalo’s Child, an animation based on the Julia Dondalson book.
There will also be special Christmas editions of Strictly Come Dancing, Rev, Doctor Who and Gardeners’ World.
Unveiling the Corporation’s Christmas highlights yesterday, George Entwistle, director of BBC Vision, said: “We have something to keep every member of the family entertained over the festive period.”
ITV is banking on a Downton Abbey Christmas special and the final of The X Factor as its festive ratings winners.
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