Monday 24 October 2016

BBC One drama Dickensian cancelled after one series

Published 21/04/2016 | 11:56

Dickensian featured Caroline Quentin as Mrs Bumble from Oliver Twist
Dickensian featured Caroline Quentin as Mrs Bumble from Oliver Twist

BBC One's big-budget drama Dickensian, which was inspired by Charles Dickens's critically acclaimed novels, has been axed after one series.

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Bold in scale, production values and budget, Dickensian reportedly cost nearly £10 million, but it disappointed in the ratings.

The 20-part programme launched on Boxing Day 2015 with an overnight average of five million viewers for the first episode and 4.3 million viewers for the second.

However, it lost audience over the course of its run, falling to an overnight average of two million by February.

Viewers complained about the lack of a fixed time slot in the schedules for the Red Planet Pictures production, which was created by former EastEnders writer Tony Jordan.

A BBC spokeswoman confirmed Dickensian's cancellation in a statement which described the decision not to renew it as a "difficult" one.

"We are incredibly proud of Dickensian and would like to thank all those involved in such an ambitious series," the statement read.

"We sometimes have to make difficult decisions to make room for new shows and it won't be returning for a second series."

Dickensian centred around a world where Dickens characters from works including Oliver Twist, Bleak House and Great Expectations collided.

One major storyline saw Inspector Bucket from Bleak House, played by Stephen Rea, trying to solve the murder of Jacob Marley from A Christmas Carol, who was portrayed by Peter Firth.

I ts stellar cast included Caroline Quentin as Mrs Bumble from Oliver Twist, Omid Djalili as Mr Venus from Our Mutual Friend and Tuppence Middleton as Amelia Havisham from Great Expectations.

Buildings described in Dickens' novels were recreated for the BBC series including The Three Cripples pub from Oliver Twist, The Old Curiosity Shop from the classic of the same name and Fagin's Lair from Oliver Twist.

Tony Jordan, managing director of Red Planet Pictures, said: " I am disappointed that we will not be making a second series of Dickensian.

"We are hugely proud of what we achieved in the first series of Dickensian and would like to thank everyone who helped us create a truly special and unique drama."

Press Association

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