tuppence middletonIn a sort of super-literary-hero mash-up, filming has just begun on Dickensian, an ambitious 20-part BBC One period drama that brings together some of Charles Dickens’ most iconic characters. Stephen Rea has joined the cast as Inspector Bucket from Bleak House while Shirley Valentine Oscar nominee Pauline Collins is Mrs Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit, and Caroline Quentin (Dancing On The Edge) plays Oliver Twist’s Mrs Bumble. Spooks‘ Peter Firth and The Imitation Game‘s Tuppence Middleton also feature.

oliver twistProduced by Tony Jordan’s Red Planet Pictures, the project of half-hours is set in 19th century London, within the fictional realms of Dickens’ classic novels. Storylines have been sourced out of back stories from the books which interweave familiar players including Fagin, Scrooge and Miss Havisham.

In a West London studio, the production has crafted an elaborate set replete with cobblestone High Street that includes a fully functioning pub, the eponymous Old Curiosity Shop and Fagin’s Den. It also features a church and law courts amid 27 two-story buildings and seven back alley ways.

bleak houseRea calls Dickensian “the most beautiful re-working of the world of Dickens that you could ever imagine. The characters take on a fresh life, and any actor would be mad not to accept the challenge these great scripts offer.”

The cast of British talent also includes: Ellie Haddington (Foyle’s War), Sophie Rundle (Peaky Blinders), Omid Djalili (Sex And The City 2) Anton Lesser (Wolf Hall) Ned Dennehy (Peaky Blinders), Adrian Rawlins (Harry Potter), Tom Weston-Jones (Copper), Richard Ridlings (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes), Alexandra Moen (Fortitude), Robert Wilfort (Wolf Hall), Jennifer Hennessy (Utopia), Phoebe Dynevor (The Musketeers), Brenock O’Connor (Game Of Thrones), Mark Stanley (Game Of Thrones), Christopher Fairbank (Wolf Hall) and newcomer Joseph Quinn.

Jordan (Death In Paradise, Life On Mars) is lead writer with a team whose credits include The Casual Vacancy, Shameless, Switch and Holby City.

Jordan and Belinda Campbell are executive producers for Red Planet with Polly Hill for BBC One. BBC Worldwide is handling international sales.