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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > British TV > Nicholas Nickleby (Koch/BBC)

Nicholas Nickleby (1979 British TV/BBC and Time-Life)

 

Picture: C†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: D†††† Program: B

 

 

Each time we look at an adaptation of Charles Dickensí Nicholas Nickleby, the versions get older.His time, we look at another solid version from 1979 by the BBC and Time-Life.Running 5.5 hours, this is also the third British mini-series version in a row we are looking at and it is certainly the equal of the other later productions.The title role is about a young man who will only tolerate so much misery and outrage form the people and world around him before he responds quickly to defend himself and those who cannot.

 

Unlike the 1982 version, this one is not so obviously on the stage, which I really enjoyed.Nigel Havers is very good in the title role, with Christopher Berry directing with great authenticity and efficiency.As a mater of fact, this was the kind of production I thought A&E might have issued, so this was finally the kind of production I wanted to see after so much talk of the success of the stage versions.The rest of the cast of is fine and of the three versions, I would start with this one, adding that the Acorn version has its share of naturalistic wide shots to take advantage of the newer video technology.This is just more characteristically British of them all.It wonít be long before we see a fourth version, I bet.

 

The 1.33 X 1 image is a bit softer than a PAL transfer to DVD should be for its age, but it is not too bad.As are the sets of Old Curiosity Shop and David Copperfield (reviewed elsewhere on this site) from the same producers, this production offers the typically British interiors on PAL analog video and the outdoor shots seemingly filmed, yet this one looks a little better.The show is on 2 DVDs here in 6 parts.†† The Dolby Digital 2.0 is a still rather weak Mono, but is passable and a tad better than the other sets.There are no extras, nor is that quite as clear as even the 1982 version, but it has character and holds up nicely.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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