‘Masterpiece’ has ‘Great Expectations’

Gillian Anderson to star in project airing on PBS in April

PBS’ “Masterpiece” will air a revival of “Great Expectations” starring Gillian Anderson, David Suchet and Ray Winstone next year, along with an adaptation of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”

Anderson will play Miss Havisham in “Expectations,” slated as a three-episode miniseries, co-produced by BBC Drama Production.

With shooting in London starting this month, “Expectations” is scheduled to air in April, two months after the 200th anniversary of author Charles Dickens’ birth. (BBC1 is scheduled to premiere “Expectations” in the U.K. this year at Christmastime.)

Gwyneth Hughes (“Miss Austen Regrets”) is scripting “Edwin Drood,” an unfinished work that she will give a new ending.

Casting has yet to be announced.

Masterpiece” exec producer Rebecca Eaton said she is eager to see Anderson in the role of “the beautiful, mysterious and manipulative Miss Havisham,” adding that the thesp’s “hypnotic portrayal of Lady Dedlock in ‘Bleak House’ showed that she and Dickens are a perfect match.”

Suchet (“Poirot”) will play Jaggers and Winstone (“Sexy Beast”) will play Magwitch. Brian Kirk (“Boardwalk Empire”) will direct.

“Expectations” will be the 10th Dickens adaptation to air on “Masterpiece,” including “Little Dorrit” (2008), which won seven Emmys including top miniseries. “Dorrit” exec producer Anne Pivcevic has a similar role on “Expectations.”

The project is one of two “Expectations” adaptations in production — the other is a feature film (Variety, April 14) starring Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Haversham and Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch.

The feature film is also being co-produced by an arm of the BBC — BBC Films — along with Number 9 Films. Mike Newell is directing a script from David Nicholls, with production scheduled in October for a 2012 release.

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