Caroline Quentin and Stephen Rea cast in epic BBC1 drama set in the world of Dickens

Dickensian is a 20-part series in which Oliver Twist's Mrs Bumble, Scrooge and Miss Havisham live side-by-side in Victorian London

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Caroline Quentin, Stephen Rea and Pauline Collins have been cast in a 20-part drama that borrows characters from Charles Dickens’ novels.

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Dickensian has been written by Tony Jordan – the man behind Hustle, Life on Mars and many an episode of EastEnders – and will be shown on BBC1 in half-hour instalments later this year.

Rea, who recently won a Bafta for his role in The Honourable Woman, will play tenacious Inspector Bucket from Bleak House. Collins has been cast as gin-tippling Mrs Gamp from Martin Chuzzlewit, while Quentin is Oliver Twists’ Mrs Bumble.

“I’ve been a big fan of Tony’s work for some time and I fell in love with the idea of seeing all these characters interact in a whole new Dickensian world,” said Quentin. “My character Mrs Bumble is quite a grumpy, bossy woman and a lot of fun to play!”

Scrooge, Fagin and Miss Havisham will also appear but have yet to be cast. The cast also includes Peter Firth, who is best known for playing the boss of MI5 in Spooks, Tuppence Middleton, who recently appeared alongside him in the big screen spin-off, Happy Valley actress Sophie Rundle, and comedian Omid Djalili.

Jordan’s production company, Red Planet Pictures, have constructed a 90-metre, cobbled 19th century street for Dickens’ characters to inhabit. As well as a church and law courts, it will house The Old Curiosity Shop next door to The Three Cripples Pub, while Fagin’s Den will be hidden down one of the many alleyways.

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Charlotte Moore, controller of BBC1, said: “Viewers will be invited into a world populated by literature’s most iconic characters and see their lives intertwine in a unique and surprising story told on an epic scale.”