Looking Backward: British Period Drama – the 21st Century Edition

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Bleak House (2005)

Actor Burn Gorman in ‘Bleak House’ (BBC)

Television mini-series have always provided an opportunity for translating longer novels to the screen by allowing more time to flesh out details and subplots. This fact has certainly not been lost on 21st century TV producers. When the BBC did Dickens’s Bleak House in 2005, writer Andrew Davies’ eight-hour adaptation was shown in 15 weekly half-hour installments (except for the first, which was an hour). Many people said the result gave the show more of a soap-opera feeling, which some said was appropriate, as it recalled the serialized publications of the original book. When the Bleak House was aired in the U.S. on PBS, it was presented in six longer installments.

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