Ten things Mrs Fen and I loved about Dickensian :
1. The cast. Already off to a flying start just by having the sublime Anton Lesser in a major role, but the strength in depth of the ensemble was terrific. Take a bow, Jill Trevillick,
2. Speculating whether Sophie Rundle or Tuppence Middleton, in twenty years or so, would look more like the Lady Dedlock of 2005's Bleak House
or the Miss Havisham of 2011's Great Expectations.
3. Sarah Phelps' writing. Nancy : ""He ain't my young man - Mr Sikes. I don't have a young man. Just a lot of old ones." Honoria : "We both died with our daughter last night. We are ghosts of the people we used to be." And of course -
4. Inspector Bucket - "Put Madame Snuggles down a moment, Mr Venus." We would both love to see a spin-off show of Bucket and Venus (and Snuggles) Investigates.
5. The cast (again.) Of course, we expect Anton Lesser, Pauline Collins and Stephen Rea to be good. But this was apparently Joseph Quinn's first big role for TV, and as Arthur Havisham he was terrific at conveying self-loathing, selfishness and petulance, at being repelling but also redeemable.
6. The design. By shooting on a specially constructed set, with no outside location filming, the series had the feel of studio-bound BBC classic adaptations of the 70s.
7. Episode 16. Plotted by Dickens for Bleak House, performed to devastating effect by Sophie Rundle and Alexandra Moen.
8. Bethany Muir singing "I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls."
9. Dickensian grace notes - I liked Mr Pickwick being kept just out of the frame, the framed murderer of Marley being called Manning
, Above all Captain Hawdon's last lines in the story foreshadowing his identity in Bleak House : "I am nothing without you. I am nobody."
10. Seeing what was clearly Tony Jordan's passion project of the last few years reach fruition. As with Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell,
it felt as if this was a drama being made with real determination to both honour the source material but also to bring a new audience to it.