BBC changes ending of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations | books | Hindustan Times
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BBC changes ending of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations

The BBC has altered the ending of Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations in both a film and a TV series adaptation.

books Updated: Dec 19, 2011 12:46 IST

The BBC has altered the ending of Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations in both a film and a TV series adaptation.

It has also completed the unfinished novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood in another effort to find new ways to perform the novelist’s work to celebrate the bicentenary of his birth.

They are part of 18 radio and television productions based on Dickens’s work to come out in the next few weeks.

Dickens wrote two endings to Great Expectations, but, controversially, both new productions have an entirely new outcome.

The two new adaptations are both a commentary on our money obsessed times as the hero Pip struggles to keep his head after the equivalent of a lottery win.

The television series chooses a ‘compromise’ ending between the ‘happy and unhappy’ endings that Dickens wrote about Pip’s eventual relationship with Estella.

The cinema version, written by David Nicholls, an author, will have a totally new ending. The BBC has helped fund the film, starring Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter, which will be released next year.

Literary purists fear that the BBC is meddling, while commentators fear Dickens ‘overkill’.

On the other hand, Dr Robert Douglas–Fairhurst, an Oxford don and author of the book ‘Becoming Dickens’, said it was impossible to run out of ways to interpret the writer.

He said Miss Havisham as a ‘cougar rather than a crone’ on the BBC One’s version is ‘absolutely right’ and added that Dickens always wrote his endings so they could be interpreted in different ways.

“I think Dickens is strong enough to withstand anything we do to him,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.

“He has a chameleon–like ability to adapt to changing circumstances,” he added.