2011’s shaping up to be a bumper year for literary drama. Following hot on the heels of BBC4’s new adaptation of Women in Love are six other high-minded highlights to look forward to…
1.The Crimson Petal and the White (BBC2)
Michel Faber’s psychological thriller tells the tale of a bright, intelligent Victorian prostitute and her attempts to get away from the brothel she’s grown up in. Romola Garai takes the lead role, while Gillian Anderson stars as her unpalatable madam. “I’ve played monstrous women before – ‘bitches’ for want of a better word – but this is the first proper one,” Anderson tells RT.
2. The Suspicions of Mr Whicher (ITV1)
Kate Summerscale’s book took us back to 1860, where she retold the tragic true story of a child murder and the efforts of acclaimed “Prince of Sleuths” Inspector Whicher (played by Paddy Considine) to find the killer.
3.The Night Watch (BBC2)
Anna Maxwell Martin leads in this dramatisation of Sarah Waters’ bestselling novel. Beginning in 1947, it tells the tale, backwards, of four Londoners whose lives are inextricably linked by their experiences in wartime.
4. Game of Thrones (Sky Atlantic)
Based on the bestselling books of George RR Martin, this epic medieval fantasy is described by the adaptor, David Benioff, as “The Sopranos in Middle Earth”. An expensive HBO production, it stars Sean Bean and Mark Addy.
5. Case Sensitive (ITV1)
Olivia Williams steals the limelight as DS Charlie Zailer in this two-part adaptation of Sophie Hannah’s suspense novel. When a mother and daughter are found dead, the police are unsure if they are dealing with murder, suicide or something more complicated.
6. Great Expectations (BBC1)
Not exactly new territory for this Dickens classic: there have been more than 15 TV and film adaptations. However, the story of orphan Pip always finds an audience and this Christmas three-parter will mark the start of the celebrations of the bicentenary of Dickens’s birth.