LadyGhosts of TV Past

What I Watched Last Night: Bleak House, Episode 2

See, it is totally possible for me to write for this section and not talk about Doctor Who. I have diverse interests, man. There’s no one trick pony-ness here! Just because I am obsessive about a handful of things doesn’t mean… Oh, what’s that? This is also a BBC series with actors from other things I’ve become, eh, preoccupied with? All right, fine. I have diverse, yet often-closely-related interests. High-five to my fellow obsessives!

Bleak House - original serial coverBleak House is the 2005 miniseries (or “regular-to-lengthy” series, in British TV land) based on, of course, the Charles Dickens book. What first drew my attention to it was Gillian Anderson’s participation as Lady Dedlock, which scratches that absence-of-DowntonAbbey itch to hear the word “Ladyship” used with frequency. I’ve spoken of my love for Gillian Anderson here before, and watching this reminds me of how well she can communicate through her eyes. She does “barely restrained sadness” perfectly.

Carey Mulligan is here too, looking rather young and adorable, and I’m convinced that if you’ve worked for the BBC once, you’re basically on-call for any other BBC production. I’m only two episodes in, and already, most of the actors have given me moments of, “I know I’ve seen you in something else before” and “Oh yeah, that guy!”

Burn Gorman (which is a Dickens-esque name in itself) plays “Guppy,” a rather greasy-looking creeper, but we might know him better as Owen Harper from Torchwood. Catherine Tate is also in this series, playing Mrs. Chadband, but she’ll always be Donna Noble to me.

I will admit that the only Dickens book I’ve ever read is Great Expectations, but I do appreciate the many adaptations he has inspired. I will continue to enjoy Bleak House, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I’ll pick up the book. Perhaps that’s a crime in certain circles, but I’m just being honest.

What shows/movies based on books have you liked, but have never read the book? What about you Jane Austen adaptation fans?

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

9 replies on “What I Watched Last Night: Bleak House, Episode 2”

I loved this miniseries when I first watched it. Gillian Anderson was truly amazing. I think she’s one of the most underrated actresses, along with Catherine Tate. I actually find it hilarious now that Catherine Tate was in this because I watched it before I became a huge fan of hers and Doctor Who, and it’s amusing to me to think of a time when I didn’t love Catherine Tate.

I love watching adaptations, especially all of the Jane Austen ones. I’m a huge fan of the Pride & Prejudice adaptation with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. That one continues to be my favorite out of any I’ve seen. I’m also a huge fan of Emma Thompson’s Sense & Sensibility. I have yet to watch the recent one that came out with Dan Stevens, but it is on my watch list.

All in all, I just adore period dramas and am up for any that are on, no matter if I’ve read the book or not.


In my Wikipedia wanderings to confirm some of my facts here, I saw that Andrew Davies  is  the writer behind this adaptation AND the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice adaptation. So, well done, that guy.

And it’s funny, I remember some people mentioning the Catherine Tate show, but I didn’t really put two and two together until recently, after I’d already watched all the Donna episodes.

I didn’t realize that Andrew Davies was behind this adaptation. Wow, no wonder I liked it so much. Ha! Thanks for pointing that out. I might have to go and search for his other stuff.

It’s so funny when things work out like that. Something similar happened to me, except I watched her in the Catherine Tate show before I watched her in DW. I thank youtube for that everyday. The character of Lauren will be with me til I die.

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