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MASTERPIECE CLASSIC: Great Expectations, Parts One & Two

Airs Sunday, April 1 & Sunday, April 8, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Douglas Booth as Pip in "Great Expectations."

An orphan boy meets an escaped convict, a crazed rich woman, a bewitching girl, and grows up to have great expectations of wealth from a mysterious patron, on "Great Expectations," Charles Dickens’ remarkable tale of rags to riches to self-knowledge, starring Gillian Anderson ("The X-Files," "Bleak House"), David Suchet, Ray Winstone, and Douglas Booth.

Gillian Anderson stars as Miss Havisham in "Great Expectations."
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Above: Gillian Anderson stars as Miss Havisham in "Great Expectations."

Vanessa Kirby as Estella and Douglas Booth as Pip in "Great Expectations."
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Above: Vanessa Kirby as Estella and Douglas Booth as Pip in "Great Expectations."

David Suchet as Jaggers in "Great Expectations."
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Above: David Suchet as Jaggers in "Great Expectations."

Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch in "Great Expectations."
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Above: Ray Winstone as Abel Magwitch in "Great Expectations."

Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket in "Great Expectations." In real life Lloyd is the great-great-great grandson of Charles Dickens himself.
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Above: Harry Lloyd as Herbert Pocket in "Great Expectations." In real life Lloyd is the great-great-great grandson of Charles Dickens himself.

The three-hour mini-series airs in two parts on MASTERPIECE CLASSIC, Sundays, April 1 & 8, 2012 at 9 p.m.

Anderson appears as one of Dickens’ most haunting creations: Miss Havisham, a bride- to-be who was jilted at the altar years before and has worn her fading wedding dress ever since, surrounded at home by the fossilized remains of the marriage feast and hell-bent on getting even with the male sex.

Newcomer Booth stars as Pip, the promising young man who is snared in Miss Havisham’s lair. On the way to becoming a gentleman, he falls in love with Miss Havisham’s beautiful adopted daughter, Estella, played by Vanessa Kirby ("The Hour").

"Great Expectations" airs during the bicentennial of Dickens' birth and marks the fifteenth MASTERPIECE adaptation of the great novelist’s works, including the acclaimed "Bleak House," starring Anderson; "Little Dorrit," the winner of seven Emmy awards; and "David Copperfield," which introduced the very young Daniel Radcliffe ("Harry Potter") to American audiences.

"Great Expectations" co-stars David Suchet ("Hercule Poirot") as Jaggers, Miss Havisham’s crack at- torney; and Ray Winstone ("Sexy Beast") as the fugitive felon Abel Magwitch, who is by turns dangerous, vengeful, and recklessly loyal.

Filling out the spectacular cast are Shaun Dooley ("South Riding") as the kindly blacksmith Joe Gargery, Pip’s brother-in-law and childhood hero; Mark Addy ("The Full Monty") as the village blowhard, Uncle Pumblechook; Paul Ritter ("Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince") as Wemmick, Jaggers’ super-efficient clerk who has a secret life; Paul Rhys ("Vincent & Theo") as Compeyson, whose dastardly swindles link several lines of the intricate plot; and Harry Lloyd ("Game of Thrones") as Pip’s guileless buddy Herbert Pocket (in real life Lloyd is the great-great-great grandson of Dickens himself).

Not to mention many other colorful Dickensian characters, populating a world that is full of conspirators, rogues, rakes, and wretches.

"Great Expectations" is a BBC/MASTERPIECE Co-Production, directed by Brian Kirk ("Game of Thrones," "Luther") and written by Sarah Phelps ("Oliver Twist"), based on the novel by Charles Dickens. The producer is George Ormond. The executive producers are Anne Pivcevic for the BBC and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE on PBS.

"Great Expectations" will be available for online viewing for a limited time, beginning April 2, 2012.

MASTERPIECE is on Facebook, and you can follow @masterpiecepbs on Twitter.

Video

Preview: Masterpiece Classic: Great Expectations