Little Dorrit (2008)

Claire Foy is playing Amy Dorrit (series regular)

Little DorritTV Premiere: UK: October 26, 2008 on BBC1 / US: March 9, 2009 on PBS Masterpiece
DVD Release: UK: January 26, 2009 / US: April 28, 2009
Created by: Andrew Davies
Starring:

Claire Foy, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay, Alun Armstrong, Judy Parfitt, Eddie Marsan, Andy Serkis, Russell Tovey, Freema Agyeman


Based Upon: novel by Charles Dickens
Genre: Period Drama
Runtime: 1st & last episode 60 minutes, other 30 minutes per episode
Rating: UK: 12 / US: Not Rated



Plot Outline

This timeless rags to riches story concerns the vacillating fortunes of the Dorrit family. The kind-hearted Amy (Claire Foy), the Little Dorrit of the title, looks after her proud father, William (Tom Courtenay – The Golden Compass) who is a long-term inmate of Marshalsea debtors’ prison in London.

But their fate is transformed by the unexpected arrival from overseas of the benevolent Arthur Clennam (Matthew Macfadyen – Spooks), who is determined to solve the mystery of his father’s dying words, “Put it right, Arthur.” He is sure this phrase is in some way connected to the Dorrits’ plight and sets about rectifying the situation – discovering they are sitting on a huge fortune, a fact which thrusts the family into the upper echelons of society.

As the Dorrits meet a variety of characters from rich to poor, a deep bond grows between Arthur and Amy, and a dark villain Rigaud (Andy Serkis) threatens to spill a long-held family secret.

Claire's Role

Amy, otherwise known as Little Dorrit, lives in the Marshalsea Prison with her father, William, who is the prison’s longest serving inmate. Although born and bred in the prison, Amy is far from being downtrodden and has grown up to be a gentle and kind-hearted yet enterprising and spirited young woman.

Episodes featuring Claire Foy

Episode 1 (1.01 - Aired on October 26, 2008)
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Ian McElhinney, Bill Paterson, Jason Thorpe


Synopsis

When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, his curiosity is piqued by the presence in his mother’s house of a young seamstress, Amy Dorrit. The cold and forbidding Mrs Clennam isn’t usually given to charity, so why has she made an exception in taking on Amy? Is she making reparations for a past wrongdoing? Does it have anything to do with Arthur’s father’s dying words and the pocket watch with its mysterious inscription, ‘do not forget’?

Arthur’s quest to discover the truth takes him across the City to the Marshalsea Prison for Debt where he meets and befriends Amy’s father, William Dorrit, the prison’s longest serving inmate. As he tries to help the Dorrits, Arthur discovers that the dark shadow of debt stretches far beyond the walls of the Marshalsea Prison to affect the lives of many. Just as it is possible to climb to the very top in London Society’s intricate game of snakes and ladders, so it is possible to slip right down.

But if Arthur succeeds in unravelling the mystery of his family’s past, where will it leave him in the scheme of things? And where will it leave the Dorrits?

Episode 10 (1.10 - Aired on November 27, 2008)
Directed by Adam Smith
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Emma Pierson, Pam Ferris, Sebastian Armesto, Amanda Redman, Anton Lesser, Nicholas Jones


Synopsis

Fanny has stolen the heart of Edmund Sparkler, whose mother, Mrs Merdle, is determined to separate them once and for all. Meanwhile, Merdle’s Bank is besieged by investors, and Arthur is worried when he sees a suspicious French stranger – the villainous Rigaud – at his mother’s house.

Episode 11 (1.11 - Aired on December 3, 2008)
Directed by Adam Smith
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Emma Pierson, Pam Ferris, Georgia King, Janine Duvitski, Alex Wyndham


Synopsis

Romance is in the air as Mrs General starts her campaign to woo Mr Dorrit, and Fanny turns the full beam of her attention on Sparkler. Meanwhile, an unwelcome reminder of the old days comes to haunt Mr Dorrit in Venice.

Episode 12 (1.12 - Aired on December 5, 2008)
Directed by Diarmuid Lawrence
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Emma Pierson, Sebastian Armesto, Nicholas Jones, Anton Lesser, Zubin Varla, Jason Thorpe, Stephane Cornicard, Pam Ferris, James Fleet


Synopsis

Mr Dorrit leaves Amy behind in Venice as he returns to London with newlyweds Fanny and Sparkler, but the high life is not all he had hoped it would be. Meanwhile, Arthur invests Doyce and Clennam’s capital in Merdle’s Bank, and Flora investigates the disappearance of Rigaud,

Episode 13 (1.13 - Aired on December 10, 2008)
Directed by Diarmuid Lawrence
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Pam Ferris, James Fleet, Amanda Redman, Emma Pierson, Sebastian Armesto, Maxine Peake, Ian McElhinney, Ruth Jones, Sue Johnston, Annette Crosbie, Anton Lesser, Nicholas Jones, Zubin Varla, Stephen Marcus


Synopsis

Mr Dorrit returns to Venice, a broken man, after a visit to London revives unwelcome memories. Arthur warns his mother that she may be in danger from Rigaud. And Amy and Arthur meet again.

Episode 14 (1.14 - Aired on December 11, 2008)
Directed by Diarmuid Lawrence
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Anton Lesser, Geoffrey Whitehead, Stephen Marcus, Nicholas Blane, Nicholas Jones, Emma Pierson, Sebastian Armesto, Jason Thorpe, Amanda Redman, Rosie Cavaliero, Geoff McGivern, Jason Watkins, Stuart Nurse, Alex Wyndham, Maxine Peake, Sue Johnston, John Alderton, Arthur Darvill, Ruth Jones, Zubin Varla, Bill Paterson, Janine Duvitski, Eve Myles, Annette Crosbie


Synopsis

Mr Merdle’s death and the collapse of Merdle’s Bank sends shockwaves through London as thousands face financial ruin. Arthur returns to the Marshalsea a prisoner, Amy goes back to her birthplace to look after him as he lies gravely ill, and Rigaud returns to play out his blackmail in the Clennam house.

Episode 2 (1.02 - Aired on October 30, 2008)
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Eve Myles, Jason Watkins, Rosie Cavaliero


Synopsis

Arthur befriends Amy Dorrit and involves himself in her family’s affairs. If, as he suspects, his family have something to do with their ruin, the least he can do is pay off her brother’s debt and give him the chance to start again. Arthur himself is planning to start again with a new job, and perhaps a renewed love for childhood sweetheart Flora Casby.

Episode 3 (1.03 - Aired on November 5, 2008)
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Georgia King, Jason Watkins, Rosie Cavaliero, Eve Myles


Synopsis

Flintwinch taunts Arthur’s mother about the mystery at the heart of the House of Clennam, while Amy discovers that ‘a gentleman’ has paid off her brother’s debts, and Arthur is invited to Twickenham to renew his acquaintance with the lovely Pet Meagles.

Episode 4 (1.04 - Aired on November 6, 2008)
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Rosie Cavaliero, Alex Wyndham, Georgia King, Bill Patterson


Synopsis

Amy receives a proposal of marriage which throws her into confusion, Arthur is taken on as a partner in Daniel Doyce’s engineering works, and the French villain Rigaud arrives in London.

Episode 5 (1.05 - Aired on November 12, 2008)
Directed by Dearbhla Walsh
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Amanda Redman, Ruth Jones, Ron Cook, Emma Pierson, Eve Myles


Synopsis

Amy accompanies her sister Fanny to meet Mrs Merdle, queen bee of London society. Meanwhile, Rigaud comes into possession of the Clennam papers, and Chivery the turnkey asks Arthur to put in a word for young John with Amy.

Episode 6 (1.06 - Aired on November 13, 2008)
Directed by Adam Smith
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Georgia King, Rosie Cavaliero


Synopsis

Pancks recruits John Chivery to help him solve the mystery that connects the Dorrit family with the House of Clennam, while Arthur proposes to Pet Meagles. Elsewhere, Tattycoram runs away from Twickenham, and Amy resigns herself to a life without the man she loves.

Episode 7 (1.07 - Aired on November 19, 2008)
Directed by Adam Smith
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Sue Johnston, James Fleet, Arthur Darvill, Georgia King, Rosie Cavaliero


Synopsis

Rigaud introduces himself to the House of Clennam, while Arthur is best man at Pet’s marriage to Henry Gowan. Pancks concludes his investigation into the Dorrit family’s long incarceration in the Marshalsea Debtors’ Prison, and Arthur and Amy break momentous news to Mr Dorrit.

Episode 8 (1.08 - Aired on November 20, 2008)
Directed by Adam Smith
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Maxine Peake, Georgia King, Alex Wyndham, Arthur Darvill, James Fleet, Emma Pierson


Synopsis

Mr Dorrit is released from the Marshalsea after more than twenty years, and takes his family abroad to reinvent themselves as members of society. Miss Wade commissions Rigaud to spy on Pet and Henry Gowan, and he takes the chance to follow the Dorrits abroad and find out what connects them to the House of Clennam.

Episode 9 (1.09 - Aired on November 26, 2008)
Directed by Adam Smith
Written by Andrew Davies
Additional Episode Cast

Emma Pierson, Eve Myles, Rosie Cavaliero, Jason Thorpe, Pam Ferris


Synopsis

The Dorrits arrive in Venice, and Fanny renews an old acquaintance with Edmund Sparkler and his redoubtable mother Mrs Merdle. Meanwhile, Amy makes a friend in Pet Gowan, united through their mutual affection for Arthur, and Rigaud senses a deeper connection between the Dorrits and the House of Clennam.

External Links

Trivia

Filming Locations: On Location and in the Pinewood Studios

• The serial won seven of its eleven nominations at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Miniseries, Outstanding Directing for Dearbhla Walsh, and Outstanding Writing for Andrew Davies.

Quotes from Claire

She’s kind, giving, sweet, virginal, something of a Samaritan and a devout believer in the truth. Dickens wrote her as a bit of an angel, but I’ve tried to keep her real; she gets fed up with her dad, but has this capacity for seeing beyond people’s behaviour and focusing on the goodness underneath. In terms of love, I think she’s confused that, while fond of John Chivery, the young jailer, she doesn’t feel romantically drawn to him. She doesn’t realise what love is until she’s about to lose it, which is maybe why her thing with Arthur Clennam is about the slowest-burn relationship of all time!

Quotes from Others

Matthew Macfadyen

She’s totally brilliant. It’s a huge task for anyone, but for her to pull it off on her first or second job out of drama school is just amazing. She’s also completely down to earth. She’s very good news.

Tom Courtenay

The main aspect for me has been William’s relationship with his daughter. She is wonderful to him and helps him get through it. It’s been a joy working with Claire. She’s such a talent.

This page was last modified on: February 19, 2012