It's difficult to choose a stand out performance from the latest television adaptation of "Bleak House" by Charles Dickens, when they were all so uniformally excellent, but, if pushed, I would have to say newcomer Burn Gorman as Mr. Guppy (pictured) stole the show. He had the voice, the facial mannerisms, the body language, all off to a fine art. The only thing he didn't do was wipe his hands in the table cloth while first proposing to Esther Summerson, as Jonathan Moore did in the same role twenty years ago!
It's been difficult to avoid comparison with the production from 1985 as it was this earlier version which first brought the story to my attention, despite already being a fan of costume drama and the novels of Dickens. Denholm Elliot brought more grit to his portrayal of John Jarndyce in the mid-Eighties while Denis Lawson, in turn, brought much humanity to a truly good-natured human being.
Both versions of "Bleak House" featured a comedian but in different roles! Charlie Drake was Smallweed in the older dramatisation; Johnny Vegas played Krook in the serial which concluded its eight-week, fifteen episode, run yesterday evening. Both versions featured actresses better known for cult roles in the same part!! Diana Rigg, Mrs. Emma Peel in Sixties classic "The Avengers", played Lady Dedlock previously while Gillian Anderson, Dana Scully in US SF series "The X Files", portrayed her on this occasion.
For anyone who has missed what is, without doubt, the drama of the year, there is an opportunity to see the final two episodes again this Sunday afternoon or view the entire serial on BBC FOUR over two nights at the end of the month. Failing that, I thoroughly recommend investing in the DVD release available from the end of February, next year.