Exceeding expectations

If I'm brutally honest, I've never really understood the attraction of Dickens. Those of his books I've read have been overlong, often dull, filled with ridiculous character names and caricatures, and mawkish. But I have to confess I so far have found the latest TV adaptation of Great Expectations a delight.

This is not harmed by having the wonderful Gillian Anderson in the Miss Haversham part, which she endows with a wondrous mix of otherwordlyness and downright nuttery.

But it's more than that. The whole thing is both gripping and engaging. There's really only one truly silly Dickens character, the uncle with the stupid name. Bumblewick or some such gobbledygook.

So maybe I was a bit premature writing Dickens off. At least in TV adaptations.