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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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HomeBBC WatchDon’t let the Beeb put its twist on Dickens

Don’t let the Beeb put its twist on Dickens

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THE BBC is under fire over its forthcoming radio adaptations of Charles Dickens’s novels, which it says have ‘particularly striking parallels with life in Britain today’. 

Critics say equating modern life with the social evils of the Victorian era, with its grinding poverty and exploitation of workers, is yet another example of the corporation’s bias. So I’m sending the producers my own ideas for bringing up-to-date themes into Dickens’s works. But I’ve no great expectations of them being used . . .

Hard Times

‘Now what I want is facts,’ said Mr Gradgrind. ‘Facts, sir – the one thing needful. In this life, we want nothing but hard facts. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. And as long as I work for BBC Verify, I’ll decide what the facts are.’

David Copperfield

‘The Government’s annual income from tax seven hundred and eighty-eight billion pounds, annual expenditure seven hundred and eighty-seven billion pounds; result happiness,’ said Mr Micawber. ‘The Government’s annual income from tax seven hundred and eighty-eight billion pounds, annual expenditure one point one-five trillion pounds; result inflation, quantitative easing and recession.’

Oliver Twist

Oliver rose from the table, and advancing to the workhouse master, basin and spoon in hand, said: ‘Please, sir, I want some more. And if you refuse, I will accuse you of child abuse, ending your career, branding you a paedophile and putting you in jail.’

‘Oh, very well,’ said the master. ‘But please be aware that rates of childhood obesity are rising alarmingly.’

A Tale of Two Cities

‘It was the worst of times, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of darkness, it was the winter of despair, it was the era of Net Zero.’

A Christmas Carol

‘At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,’ said the gentleman, ‘it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute.’

‘Are there no prisons?’ asked Scrooge. ‘And the Union workhouses? The treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour?’

‘Very busy, sir.’

‘I’m very glad to hear it. I help to support those establishments – they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.’

‘Many can’t go there; and many would rather die,’ said the gentleman.

‘If they would rather die,’ said Scrooge, ‘they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides, there’s plenty more coming into the country in small boats to replace them.’

The Old Curiosity Shop

She was dead. Dear, gentle, patient, noble Little Nell was dead. There, upon her tiny bed, she lay at rest. She seemed a creature fresh from the hand of God, and waiting for the breath of life; not one who had lived and suffered death. Then, even though there was not a shred of medical evidence, the doctor signed off her cause of death as Covid.

Great Expectations

There sat the strangest lady I have ever seen, in a bridal dress of satins, lace and silks. She had a long white veil and bridal flowers in her hair. The bride had withered like the dress, looking like some ghastly waxwork.

‘Who are you?’ said the lady.

‘Pip, Miss Havisham.’

‘It’s Mister Havisham, you misgendering young idiot,’ she replied. ‘Why do you think I was jilted all those years ago?’

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Henry Getley
Henry Getley
Henry Getley is a freelance journalist.

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