Perhaps, when the words Little Dorrit kept coming up during last night’s Emmy Awards broadcast, you were all, “Little who?” Or maybe you filtered out the unfamiliar phrase altogether and have no idea what I’m talking about. But wait! There’s a reason why the BBC-WGBH Charles Dickens adaptation picked up so many trophies, including Outstanding Miniseries plus the writing and directing awards in that field.
I’m not even a Dickens fan like that, but my 19th-century-British-literature-obsessive girlfriend sure is, so I watched the miniseries when it aired this spring. The cast was one of those sprawling BBC ensembles, featuring memorable performances from actors I’d never seen before (Claire Foy, as debtor’s daughter Amy Dorrit) as well as some familiar faces (Matthew “Mr. Darcy” Macfadyen as earnest hero Arthur Clennam, Andy “Gollum” Serkis as creepy villain Rigaud). And the plot — all about wealth and class and massive finance-industry malfeasance — was shockingly relevant in 2009. If you’d like to see a melodramatic TV movie about the Bernie Madoff scandal, you’d probably be better off seeking out Little Dorrit on DVD. It’ll be just as much fun, you’ll get a long-suffering love story at the same time, and you know the production values will be higher with the BBC in charge.
Did any of you catch Little Dorrit when it first aired? How psyched are you to see it having a well-deserved Emmy moment? Or are you looking forward to discovering Little Dorrit now that the Emmys have brought it to your attention?
by Simon Vozick-Levinson