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Yule love this classic; THE OLD CUROSITY SHOP BOXING DAY, STV, 9pm.

Byline: Graham Keal and Paul English

ITV demonstrates that it's not just the BBC that can make classy adaptations of much-loved period pieces in this lavish version of the Dickens' novel, starring Derek Jacobi as the shop owner and Sophie Vavasseur as his saintly granddaughter, Little Nell.

Toby Jones provides a wonderfully hissable villain in the shape of the odious Quilp - a lascivious, wife-beating money lender and potential paedophile who has his eyes on the curio-filled shop, not to mention the 13-year-old girl who lives in it.

When Quilp gets the shop in his clutches after financing grandfather's nocturnal gambling addiction, the old man and the girl see flight as their only option and they take to the road.

A supporting cast stuffed with stars and solid performances includes Zoe Wanamaker as the quirky owner of a travelling waxworks, Josie Lawrence as Quilp's mother-in-law, Adrian Rawlins as the mysterious Jacob, who seems as desperate as Quilp to find the missing duo, Martin Freeman and Steve Pemberton as two Punch and Judy men on the make, Adam Godley as Quilp's craven, corrupt lawyer Brass and Gina McKee as the lawyer's equally wicked sister.

Trying to pack the whole story into one feature-length episode means the plot races along at a break neck pace until the fugitives reach rock-bottom and Nell is forced to beg on the streets.

Don't expect too many laughs along the way, but it's a great old story.


WHAT THE DICKENS... Quilp and Nell
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 22, 2007
Previous Article:HEARTBEAT; STV, SUNDAY, 8pm.

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