Little Dorrit (2008)

Genre: Drama

Synopsis: A BBC Drama Productions large scale and ambitious adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic Little Dorrit written by Andrew Davies for BBC One.

Little Dorrit tells the story of the Dorrit family and the rich array of characters they encounter on their way from rags to riches and back again.

Our story starts with the birth of a baby in the Marshalsea debtor's prison. This is Amy Dorrit, child of the Marshalsea, daughter of William Dorrit, who is still in prison when we rejoin the story 20 years on.

Into their lives comes the dashing and adventurous Arthur Clennam, returning to London after many long years in China and desperate to carry out the task set by his father on his death bed: "Put it right Arthur. Your mother. Put it right."

When he sees 20-year-old Amy working for his formidable mother Mrs Clennam, a woman not ordinarily given to charity, he begins to scent a connection.

Thus begins a journey from powerless to powerful, as the Dorrits' fortunes rise and fall along with those of a cross-section of London society.

Landlords and rent collectors, plasterers, bankers, turnkeys, prisoners, gentlemen and paupers, wastrels and dancing girls, engineers, artists, dowagers and butlers, and a charismatic French villain – all trip in and out of the story as Arthur and Amy walk the rocky road to love.

Matthew Macfayen Role: Arthur Clennam

The hero of the tale is Arthur Clennam, a middle-aged man for whom Little Dorrit (Amy Dorrit) feels a great passion that he does not immediately requite. The story follows their luck in receiving a fortune and becoming affluent and - with the clear exception of Little Dorrit - arrogant. It also shows how outside prison walls there can exist equally confining prisons of our own making, particularly due to aspiration. Clennam ends up in the debtor’s prison where Little Dorrit looks after him and there emerges an interesting but complex mystery concerning Clennam’s gloomy and religious mother, her partner, conspiracy and a will that has not benefited its rightful beneficiaries.

Status: 14-part series shown twice a week. The first episode aired 26 October, 2008 in the UK

Little Dorrit begins on March 29, 2009 on PBS in the US.  It is shown in 5 installments.


Filming began in April 2008 in the UK and progressed into September.

External Links:

BBC Official Website

BBC Press Release

And we are all delighted to be welcoming Matthew Macfadyen back to BBC One, he will bring charisma, charm, intelligence and talent to our hero Arthur Clennam.



BBC Press Release, Cast Announcement

BBC Press Pack

Little Dorrit Wiki

Read Little Dorrit Online

Read the abridged version online

An informative site about the book

Darcylicious Links:

Little Dorrit News Articles and Media

Available for purchase:



BBC-Press.Office-Little.Dorrit.(press.pack).pdf 1.05 MB


Clennam -- dashing and

Clennam -- dashing and adventurous?  Not according to the book I read.  I hope this doesn't end up with a rake in the lead role such as happened with Jane Eyre's Rochester in 2006.  Two humble people who have been suppressed by their respective circumstances and who eventually find each other while much of the focus of the story is on the people around them and through whom they become the most important characters.  I look forward to your work.

Dashing and adventurous

Dashing and adventurous probably came (in my opinion) from Derek Jacobi's performance as the character in 1987. If Matthew does not try to copy Sir Derek's performance, that might do him good. Has Matthew seen the 1987 film of Little Dorrit? If he does not come off as a Sir Derek clone, so much the better. However, this film seems to be a different viewpoint than the 1987 version, which Matthew would not be asked to carry a whole half of the film by himself, like Sir Derek was asked and was able to do.


I'm looking forward to the

I'm looking forward to the portions of the novel that were missing from the '87 film, though the essence of Little Dorrit was so well covered.  "Discovered" the film by looking for Joan Greenwood and Sir Alec Guinness films (old favorites) and have 3 copies now which have been loaned to family members, so I am a true fan and really want to see a first class treatment of the novel, which is worth the read by the way.  Any insight into Sarah Pickering and her life after LD?

Just last night was the

Just last night was the final installment of Little Dorrit here in the U.S. on PBS' Masterpiece Classic. Needless to say, it was a terrific series and I am sorely disappointed that I now no longer look forward to Sunday nights at 9pm.


I loved this series so much that I plan to buy the DVD. Matthew was superb in his portrayal of handsome Arthur Clennam. He really brought out the character's integrity, honesty, and willingness to do the right thing. He showed what a true, respectable gentleman is and you could feel the frustration he felt over his formal relationship with his mother. Arthur tried to give her more but she couldn't accept it, albeit, I think she came close a few times. Then Matthew was just briiliant in showing the way Arthur came to the realization that Amy actually loved him and she was the one he loved.


Claire Foy was a fresh, sweet face that epitomized Amy's innocence and goodness. Claire easily showed how Amy looked for the good in everyone she met and wanted to help and show love to others. Amy and Arthur definitely deserved a happy, loving life together and the show ended with such promise for their future. What a way to go... ;