Bleak House (2005)
2 user

Episode #1.8 

Intimidated by Mr. Tulkinghorn to provide a sample of Capt. Hawdon's handwriting, Sgt. George has decided to submit, this time. With the writing sample, Tulkinghorn is satisfied that Nemo ... See full summary »


Susanna White


Andrew Davies (screenplay), Charles Dickens (novel)


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Smiley ... Phil Squod
Hugo Speer ... Sergeant George
Pauline Collins ... Miss Flite
Denis Lawson ... John Jarndyce
Carey Mulligan ... Ada Clare
Anna Maxwell Martin ... Esther Summerson
Katie Angelou Katie Angelou ... Charley Neckett
Charles Dance ... Mr. Tulkinghorn
Tom Georgeson Tom Georgeson ... Clamb
Phil Davis ... Smallweed
Louise Brealey ... Judy (as Loo Brealey)
Burn Gorman ... Guppy
Gillian Anderson ... Lady Dedlock
Anne Reid ... Mrs. Rouncewell
Warren Clarke ... Boythorn


Intimidated by Mr. Tulkinghorn to provide a sample of Capt. Hawdon's handwriting, Sgt. George has decided to submit, this time. With the writing sample, Tulkinghorn is satisfied that Nemo and Hawdon are the same person. Tulkinghorn reneges on his promise to clear George's debts however. Esther, with her scars from smallpox, is now convinced that Mr. Woodcort is beyond her reach. Going through Krook's personal effects, Smallweed learns from Guppy of the existence of the letters. Jarndyce, Ada and Esther again visit Mr. Boythorn who tells them of the ghost walk at the Dedlock estate. There Lady Dedlock tells Esther the identity of her mother. Written by garykmcd

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ghost | curse | See All (2) »






Release Date:

24 November 2005 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


Warren Clarke's character Mr. Boythorn tells Esther and Ada a ghost story involving King Charles the First. Clarke previously starred in Blackadder: The Cavalier Years (1988) as General Oliver Cromwell, who signed King Charles' death warrant. See more »

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User Reviews

Revealing the truth
9 October 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'Bleak House' became an instant favourite first watching it in 2005, also reading the book concurrently. Still hold it in extremely high regard, one of the best literary period television adaptations in the past twenty years or so. Don't know which is better between this and the 1985 adaptation, both wonderful in their own way. That adaptation was more faithful, without feeling overly so (yes there is such a thing), while this is more accessible, particularly when you've either not read the book or reading it at the same time.

Am saying this because 'Bleak House' is a very long book, one of Dickens' longest, with a complicated story where there is a lot going on, and very meaty characters that are mostly complex. We are now at the halfway point, after seven superb previous parts, and the exceptionally high quality is still maintained. Its main interest point is a big revelation concerning Lady Dedlock and that is one of the episode's highlights as well. Everything with Sergeant George and Tulkinghorn compels as well.

Visually, this eighth episode looks wonderful. It's beautifully shot and handsomely and evocatively designed. Nailing the Victorian era in both look and atmosphere, one can feel and smell the full impact of the dangerous living conditions present in the era. The music fits nicely.

The characters are still interesting, the complexity and important character traits still maintained but expanding too. The dialogue is literate and thoughtful in an accessible way, without being too wordy which is a feat as Dickens is talk-heavy and it can be quite dense. All of the major subplots are interesting, they don't bore and never found myself losing focus. The big scene between Esther and Lady Dedlock is extremely moving, could especially feel the emotion with Anderson. Apparently, that scene posed problematic when filmed and the emotional drainage that both Anderson and Martin must have felt comes through very effectively in the scene.

Gillian Anderson's Lady Dedlock is as tortured and artistocratic as ever and again Tulkinghorn cannot be trusted with a bargepole, his evil and deceit brilliantly brought out by Charles Dance as if born to play him. Despite the name, the Guppy of Burn Gorman is one that one can easily take seriously without that aspect being overdone. Phil Davis is a suitably repellent Smallweed and Anna Maxwell Martin is affecting but never makes Esther bland.

In summation, brilliant as to be expected. 10/10

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