Masterpiece Classic’s Stunning Adaptation of “Little Dorrit” by Charles Dickens Airs Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Release Date: 04/25/2009

HARTFORD, Conn. – “Little Dorrit,” Charles Dickens’s gripping tale of intimacy, incarceration and the misery of debt is brought to the small screen in a sumptuous five-part Masterpiece Classic adaptation airing on Thursdays, April 30 through May 28  at 9 p.m. on CPTV.

From screenwriter extraordinaire Andrew Davies (Bleak House, Pride and Prejudice), the miniseries stars Matthew Macfadyen (Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley) as hero Arthur Clennam, newcomer Claire Foy as Amy “Little” Dorrit, and Tom Courtenay as her father, who has been incarcerated for 25 years for insolvency. Scores of other great actors appear in this moving tale that was particularly close to Dickens’ heart, since his own father did time in debtor’s prison.

Widely acclaimed during its recent UK broadcast, “Little Dorrit” received this glowing recommendation from Variety, “totally absorbing, a master class in period literary drama.” And in the Daily Mail, “In the light of what has happened on Wall Street, and in Iceland, and our own banks, the terrible trail of sadness caused by bad debt seems all too plausible. It is a powerful reminder of Dickens's perennial relevance to our lives.”

“Little Dorrit” opens in England during the 1820s, where the penalty for unpaid debts is imprisonment—as indeed has befallen William Dorrit, resident of London’s notorious Marshalsea debtor’s jail for so long that he is called the “Father of the Marshalsea,” and his daughter Little Dorrit has known no other home for her 22 years.

Little Dorrit’s plight was of great importance to Dickens, since his own father was imprisoned in the Marshalsea for three months for a debt of 40 pounds. The family’s money problems led to a sequence of grim experiences for the young Dickens, which figure prominently in many of his other novels, including Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.  Both have aired recently on CPTV.  CPTV will air another new Masterpiece Classic adaptation, Dickens’ “The Old Curiosity Shop,” on Sunday, May 3 at 9 p.m.

“Little Dorrit” Airdates and Times

Masterpiece Classic
“Little Dorrit” Part 1
Airs Thursday, April 30 at 9 p.m.
Amy “Little” Dorrit is mysteriously summoned from the Marshalsea debtor’s prison, where she is caring for her father, to work for the shut-in Mrs. Clennam. Arthur Clennam suspects a long-buried family secret behind his mother’s unaccustomed act of charity.

Masterpiece Classic
“Little Dorrit” Part 2
Airs Thursday, May 7 at 9 p.m.
Romance and heartbreak are in the air as John Chivery proposes to Amy, Arthur vies for the hand of Pet Meagles and Fanny Dorrit leads on playboy Edmund Sparkler, stepson of financier Mr. Merdle.

Masterpiece Classic
“Little Dorrit” Part 3
Airs Thursday, May 14 at 9 p.m.
The villainous Rigaud begins an extortion scheme against Mrs. Clennam, while Flintwitch observes knowingly. Pancks uncovers information that frees Mr. Dorrit from the Marshalsea. The Dorrits, including Amy, leave for a life of upper-class idleness in Italy.

Masterpiece Classic
“Little Dorrit” Part 4
Airs Thursday, May 21 at 9 p.m.
Alarmed that his mother is suspected of murdering the missing Rigaud, Arthur searches high and low for the scoundrel. He also finds time to invest in Merdle’s bank, as does most of London, including the newly arrived Mr. Dorrit. Meanwhile, Amy has stayed behind in Venice.

Masterpiece Classic
“Little Dorrit” Part 5 - Conclusion
Airs Thursday, May 28 at 9 p.m.
Broken by reminders of the past in London, Mr. Dorrit returns to Amy in Italy. Ruin threatens all who have invested with Merdle. The plot reaches a climax at the House of Clennam, where miracles and disasters ensue; and at the Marshalsea, where Amy and Arthur meet once more.

About Connecticut Public Television
CPTV is a media service of the Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network (CPBN, www.cpbn.org). It is a locally and nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including UConn Women's Basketball, original documentaries and educational programming. CPTV has built a reputation as a leader in children’s programming, including playing a historic role in bringing Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™ and Thomas & Friends™ to public television. The station offers 11 hours of positive, nurturing children’s programs each weekday, reaching 50,000 to 70,000 households daily. The Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network also includes WNPR, an affiliate of National Public Radio, Public Radio International and American Public Media. WNPR serves over 200,000 listeners weekly in Connecticut, New York and Rhode Island with news and information. Its award-winning local programming includes The Faith Middleton Show and Where We Live. Overall, the network brings a broad spectrum of public affairs, entertainment, sports and educational programming to viewers, listeners and readers. For more information, visit www.cptv.org and/or www.wnpr.org.

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