‘David Copperfield’ (1999) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

David Copperfield with Daniel Radcliffe

This is the 1999 TV adaptation of ‘David Copperfield’. This was shown as a two episode story on Christmas Day and Boxing Day in 1999. I do recall seeing this with my parents during those two days.

There’s so much to say about this ‘David Copperfield’ adaptation that I don’t know where to begin. Suffice to say, this is a brilliant adaptation with each of these two episodes about 1½ hours in length.

‘David Copperfield’ by Charles Dickens was adapted for TV by Adrian Hodges. It was produced by Kate Harwood and was directed by Simon Curtis. There’s so much to enjoy from these two episodes!

The story of ‘David Copperfield’ is believed to be a fictional account of Charles Dickens’ life from childhood to adulthood. If that’s the case, it’s a very rich and vibrant account of Charles Dickens’ life.

There are lots of moments filled with drama, happiness, sadness and darkness throughout. The life of David Copperfield is one where he experiences hardship as well as joy as a boy and a young man.

I like how this TV production of ‘David Copperfield’ shows his life in two parts. The first episode sees David Copperfield in his days as a boy whereas the second episode seems him grown up and a man.

I was very impressed with the cast featured in this version of ‘David Copperfield’. There are lots of famous talent which I shall go on to mentioning as the characters are rich and well-portrayed in this.

David Copperfield is first played by Daniel Radcliffe and this is his acting debut before he went on to play ‘Harry Potter’. I was very impressed Daniel’s performance as David Copperfield as a young boy.

There’s also Ciarán McMenamin who plays David Copperfield as a young man. Ciarán is equally good and it was interesting to see how David coped in life as a young man and what challenges he’d faced.

In the cast, there’s Emilia Fox as Clara Copperfield, David’s mother who’s sweet and lovely. There’s also Pauline Quirke as Peggotty, who is the Copperfields’ housekeeper and who David greatly loves.

There’s Trevor Eve as the evil Edward Murdstone, who becomes David’s stepfather and mistreats David very badly. There’s also Zoë Wanamaker as Jane Murdstone, Murdstone’s equally cruel sister.

There’s Alun Armstrong as Dan Peggotty and James Thornton as Ham, who become a second family for David. There’s also Laura Harling as young Emily Peggotty and Aislin McGuckin as the adult Emily.

There’s Maggie Smith as Betsey Trotwood, David’s aunt who he finds after running away to Dover from London. There’s also Ian McNeice as Mr. Dick, who resides with Betsey Trotwood at her home.

There’s Bob Hoskins as Wilkins Micawber, who takes David home to his house when he’s working in London. There’s also Imelda Staunton as Mrs. Emma Micawber, who will never desert her husband.

There’s Harry Lloyd as young Steerforth and Oliver Milburn as adult Steerworth who David befriends. There’s also Cherie Lunghi as Steerforth’s mother and also Clare Holman as Rose Dartle.

There’s Joanna Page as Dora Spenlow who David falls in love with and marries. There’s also Antonia Corrigan as young Agnes Wickfield and Amanda Ryan as adult Agnes who David also loves as a sister.

There’s Nicholas Lyndhurst (from ‘Only Fools and Horses’) as the slimy Uriah Heep. There’s also Thelma Barlow as Mrs. Heep, Uriah’s mother and Oliver Ford Davies as Mr. Wickfield, Agnes’ father.

There’s Michael Elphick as Mr. Barkis who Peggotty marries, Patsy Byrne as Mrs. Gummidge who resides with the Peggotys in a boat house and Ian McKellen as Mr. Creakle, David’s school teacher.

There’s also Kenneth MacDonald (from ‘It Ain’t Half Hot Mum’) as Mr. Littimer, Steerforth’s valet and Dawn French as Mrs. Crupp, David’s landlady. There’s James Grout as Mr. Spenlow, Dora’s father.

Tom Wilkinson (who was in ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’) is the narrator of ‘David Copperfield’. Tom as the narrator plays David as an older man who reflects back on his life and recounts all he’s experienced.

‘David Copperfield’ has been a wonderful 3 hours of Charles Dickens drama with great characters and a superb cast. I can’t think of any other better version of ‘David Copperfield’ compared to this version.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s ‘The Making of David Copperfield’ documentary with cast and crew interviews and also a suite of music of ‘David Copperfield’ by Rob Lane to enjoy. There’s also a trailer on other BBC classic period dramas to enjoy. These are ‘Pride & Prejudice’ from 1995, ‘Wives & Daughters’ from 1999, ‘Middlemarch’ from 1994 and ‘Our Mutual Friend’ from 1998.

‘David Copperfield’ (1999) rating – 10/10

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