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Dickens’ Secret Lover

Airs Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Credit: Courtesy of American Public Television

Above: Charles Dance as British novelist Charles Dickens and Sarah Aspinall as Nelly Ternan in "Dickens' Secret Lover."

When 19th century British novelist Charles Dickens was 45 years old and married with nine children, he met Nelly Ternan, an 18-year-old actress with whom he fell hopelessly in love. Thus began an ongoing clandestine relationship that he kept secret for the rest of his life.

"Dickens' Secret Lover" reveals how this very public figure kept his private life secret via Byzantine financial arrangements, meticulously planned railway journeys, networks of safe-houses and the burning of personal papers and private letters. Ultimately, the strain of his double life resulted in a premature death for the highly gifted yet deeply troubled artist.

Preview: Dickens' Secret Lover

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