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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > British TV > Mini-Series > Bleak House (2005/Charles Dickens/BBC Blu-ray + DVD)

Bleak House (2005/Charles Dickens/BBC Blu-ray + DVD)


Picture: B/C+†††† Sound: B-/C+†††† Extras: C+†††† Episodes: B-



Charles Dickensí Bleak House was such a successful mini-series event for the BBC in 1985 with Diana Rigg & Denholm Elliott, which they decided to try again in 2005 with Gillian Anderson and Charles Dance.Comprised of 15 episodes, most a half-hour each, it is a decent adaptation of the book, if with some slight lightening of the material and in its zest to cover the whole book, stretches the timeout a little more than it should.


The tale of inheritance, justice gone wrong, secrets, evil manipulations and class division in 19th Century England is as fresh as ever and is on par with the 1985 production.Two young people unexpectedly become the inheritors of the Jarndyce Estate, but others feel they are entitled and will do anything to stop them.For something you would see on Masterpiece Theater, this is not as stuffy or boring as this kind of British TV gets, which is to its advantage.It is not well-rounded all the way, but worth seeing, especially if you have Blu-ray.Warren Clarke, Ian Richardson and Pauline Collins are among the supporting cast who keeps this interesting.


The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image has some limits for being an older HD production, but fares rather well throughout despite some softness, but we have seen worse in 1080p presentations, so the makers did their best with the format they had.The anamorphically enhanced DVD is much weaker and this is the second time the BBC has issued this on DVD, so this is likely an older transfer.The PCM 2.0 Stereo on the Blu-ray is not bad, but not great and we guess no 5.1 upgrade was made as the audio was not recorded with that in mind.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the DVD is weaker, but not by as much as the picture.†† Extras include stills, separate on camera interviews with Anderson, Dance and Denis Lawson and audio commentary tracks on three of the episodes.



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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