Shooting is set to start this Monday on the BBC's three-part TV adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel Great Expectations.
Written by Sarah Phelps, and directed by Brian Kirk, it's billed as being "part thriller, part mystery, with a powerful love story at its heart and Dickens' trademark wit and characterisation throughout, Sarah Phelps' three-part adaptation embraces all of these qualities, delivering a vibrant, visceral, story."
Joining the already announced Ray Winstone (Magwitch), Douglas Booth (Pip), Gillian Anderson (Miss Haversham) and Izzy Meikle-Small (Young Estella) are:
Vanessa Kirby (represented by Ken McReddie), who this week made it on to Screen International's Stars of Tomorrow 2011 list, has been cast as Estella. After studying at Exeter University, Vanessa turned down a place at LAMDA drama school last year after being offered the opportunity to appear in three productions at the Bolton Octagon: Arthur Miller's All My Sons, Ibsen's Ghosts and A Midsummer Night's Dream and more theatre roles followed. She will also been seen in BBC2's newsroom drama The Hour later this month, playing young debutante, Ruth Elms.
Oscar Kennedy (represented by Curtis Brown) who played the young Nigel Slater in last year's acclaimed TV adaptation of the TV chef's memoir Toast, takes on the role of Young Pip.
Harry Lloyd, recently seen in Game of Thrones, and who is a descendant of Charles Dickens, is to play Herbert Pocket.
David Suchet is Jaggers; Mark Addy (Game Of Thrones, Robin Hood) is Pumblechook; Shaun Dooley (Married Single Other, Red Riding) is Joe Gargery; Claire Rushbrook (The Fades, Ashes To Ashes) is Mrs Joe Gargery; Paul Rhys is Compeyson; Paul Ritter is Wemmick; Jack Roth (son of actor, Tim Roth) is Orlick and Frances Barber is Mrs Brandley.
Eleven-year-old orphan, Pip (Oscar Kennedy) runs into an escaped convict on the marshes near his home. The convict, Magwitch (Winstone), orders the boy to steal a file from his Uncle Joe's forge to remove his shackles. The terrified Pip returns with the file and some food – and this innocent act of kindness is set to have far reaching consequences for them both.
Meanwhile, Miss Havisham (Gillian Anderson) the reclusive owner of grand Satis House, has requested a boy be sent to her; Pip is to be a playmate to her adopted daughter Estella. Miss Havisham encourages Pip to believe that he might be destined for a future beyond the marshes, a future linked to that of beautiful Estella. Pip's hopes are dashed, though, when Miss Havisham pays for him to be apprenticed to Joe as a blacksmith; it seems his dreams of greater things were unfounded.
At first Pip struggles to come to terms with a life in the forge but eventually he accepts this as his fate. However, everything changes when a lawyer from London, Jaggers, makes a surprise visit. He informs the now adult Pip (Douglas Booth) that he is a young man of great expectations and will inherit a fortune when he becomes twenty-one. There is one condition. Pip must not enquire into the identity of his benefactor; this will remain secret until that person chooses to reveal themselves. In the meantime Jaggers is his guardian. Pip sets out for London leaving all he knows behind to pursue his new life, with his heart set on seeing Estella again.
Great Expectations will screen at Christmas on BBC One.