Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is reteaming with his Taboo and A Christmas Carol collaborators on a new adaptation of Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations. Knight will write and executive produce the six-part BBC One/FX limited series that is also exec produced by Ridley Scott, Tom Hardy, Dean Baker, David W Zucker and Kate Crowe.
Great Expectations is the coming-of-age story of an orphan nicknamed Pip. Dickens first released it in a series of weekly chapters beginning in December 1860 before it was subsequently published as a novel. Previous filmed iterations have included a 2012 feature from Mike Newell and a BBC/PBS series in 2011.
Knight is an avowed Dickens fan who told me a couple years back that part of what sets Peaky Blinders apart from other period drama owes something to the author. At the time, he said, “If one were to hope to aspire to do what Dickens did it would be to take working class life and make it relative to fiction.”
Today, Knight says, “Adapting Dickens’ work is a delight. I chose Great Expectations as the next work to bring to the screen not just because of the timeless characters, but also because of the very timely story. A story of class mobility and class intransigence, told through an intensely emotional and personal first person narrative. As the son of a Blacksmith myself, Pip’s journey from the forge into society is a very special one to me.”
Great Expectations will mark Knight’s second adaptation of the writer’s works following last year’s A Christmas Carol. That limited series launched during the holidays with 7.8M viewers.
Eric Schrier, President, FX Entertainment, said, “FX is honored to begin the next chapter of collaboration with Steven Knight, Ridley Scott, Tom Hardy and their teams as they reunite for this modern adaption of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. Their inaugural Dickens adaptation, A Christmas Carol, was a great success both creatively and commercially. We want to thank our partners at the BBC, Scott Free and Hardy Son & Baker for their support and can’t wait to get to work on this project.”
Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content, calls Great Expectations “the perfect choice given its timely and personal narrative. (Knight’s) original take on one of Britain’s most loved classics will make it must see drama for a whole new generation.”
Great Expectations will be produced by FX Productions in association with the BBC, Scott Free and Hardy Son & Baker. Mona Qureshi will also exec produce for the BBC. Production is not expected to begin until next year.