Our Mutual Friend - Charles Dickens (1958) (DVD)
The original BBC adaptation of Dickens' haunting novel of love, loss and naked greed
“Love, though said to be afflicted with blindness, is a vigilant watchman.”
When waterman Gaffer Hexam (Julian Somers) and daughter Lizzie (Rachel Roberts) fish a battered corpse from the Thames, it is identified at that of John Harmon, a young man recently returned to London from South Africa to claim his fortune.
Had Harmon lived, his father's will required him to marry pretty but spoilt Bella Wilfer (Zena Walker). Instead, the estate passes on to Nicodemus ‘Noddy' Boffin (Richard Pearson) and his wife Henrietta (Marda Vanne), a kindhearted childless couple who adopt and pamper Bella. The mysterious John Rokesmith (Paul Daneman) becomes their trusted secretary, and they engage one-legged ballad-seller Silas Wegg (Esmond Knight) to entertain them with nightly readings. But Wegg's mind is set on blackmail.
Lizzie gains two suitors in the shape of workshy barrister Eugene Wrayburn (David McCallum) and wily Bradley Headstone (Alex Scott), schoolmaster to her brother Charley (Melvyn Hayes). But what of Rokesmith's true identity? And can the course of love and destiny run smooth?
Carl Bernard and Rachel Gurney are the devious but foolhardy Alfred and Sophronia Lammie, Gerald Cross is ‘articulator of bones' Mr Venus, Basil Henson principled lawyer Mortimer Lightwood, Robert Scroggins simple foundling Sloppy, Fay Compton overburdened child-minder Betty Higden, Helena Hughes meek and kindly dolls' dressmaker Jenny Wren, and Wilfred Brambell her drunken father ‘Mr Dolls'.
Written by pioneering children's TV producer Freda Lingstrom, and broadcast in twelve 30-minute episodes in 1958–59, this landmark literary adaptation is now on DVD for the first time.
Release Date: 3rd July 2017
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