The BBC has injected a strong anti-colonial message into its adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel Great Expectations, it has been revealed.
Written by Peaky Blinders creator Stephen Knight, the beloved novel has been given a new twist, referencing the evils of Empire which were not present in the original Victorian book.
In one scene, criminal Magwitch, one of the central characters, describes the British Empire as having been ‘built on the lies of privileged white men’, The Telegraph reports.
Asked about whether he is concerned his version of the beloved tale may upset traditionalists, Knight said: ‘It’s everyone’s right to react in the way they want to react.
‘But I would say that the book exists, it is still there. This is not an attempt to say the book is wrong or this is better.’
The new show stars multiple-Oscar-winning British actress Olivia Colman as the terrifying Miss Havisham and Ffion Whitehead as orphan Pip
Written by Peaky Blinders creator Stephen Knight, the beloved novel has been given a new twist
Knight also reportedly also told his cast that the adaptation would aim to remove the stiffness long associated with Victorian Britain.
Still set in the 19th century, the 1861 novel has been adapted into a slightly more modern drama which creators hope will attract new audiences to it.
The show’s lead actor, Ffion Whitehead, expressed his hope that the BBC’s dramatisation will make the canonical novel ‘more accessible for younger people’.
The actor, who is no stranger to period dramas after previously starring in Dunkirk, plays orphan Pip, the novel’s protagonist.
He described Empire as ‘a horrible thing’ in an interview while promoting the show, challenging anyone who disagreed.
‘The Empire was a horrible thing which involved a lot of British people going out and enslaving, pillaging and destroying a lot of cultures around the world.
‘It was powered by greed. If there’s anyone walking around believing that the Empire was a great thing they are kidding themselves.’
The new show stars multiple-Oscar-winning British actress Olivia Colman as the terrifying Miss Havisham.
Still set in the 19th century, the 1861 novel has been adapted into a six-part costume drama which creators hope will attract new audiences to it
Colman and Whitehead star opposite Line Of Duty actress Shalom Brune-Franklin (right), 28, in the role of Estella. The drama will be arriving on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from next Sunday
Whitehead, 25, plays orphan Pip opposite Line Of Duty actress Shalom Brune-Franklin, 28, in the role of his love interest Estella.
They star together alongside Top Boy actor Ashley Thomas, 38, as lawyer Jaggers, and The Split star Rudi Dharmalingam, 41, who plays Jagger’s assistant Wemmick.
This Is England’s Johnny Harris, 49, portrays escaped convict Magwitch.
Adult Material actress Hayley Squires, 34, plays Pip’s sister Sara Gargery as Killing Eve actor Owen McDonnell, 49, takes on the role of her husband Joe Gargery.
The highly-anticipated six-part drama will be arriving on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from next Sunday.