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The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby: Part II of II

CHARLES DANCE, PAM FERRIS AND GREGOR FISHER star in a major new film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby for ITV.

JAMES D’ARCY plays Dickensian hero Nicholas Nickleby in the well-loved tale which sets youth and innocence against injustice and exploitation.

The stellar cast also includes Abigail McKern, Tom Hollander, Liz Smith, Jonathan Coy, Dominic West, Frank Mills and Lee Ingleby.

Filmed in London, Yorkshire, Bedfordshire and Kent, The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby captures the spirit of Dickens’ third book with its blend of comedy and horror, melodrama and biting satire.

The two-part adaptation is made by Company Television, the independent production house behind acclaimed dramas Cor, Blimey!, The Lakes, A Young Person’s Guide to Becoming A Rock Star, Anna Karenina, North Square and Never Never.

Described by Dickens as a young man of “impetuous temper and little or no experience???, Nicholas Nickleby strives to save his family from misfortune at the hands of his villainous and greedy uncle Ralph (Charles Dance) after the death of his father.

His adventures take him from the brutality of boarding school, Dotheboys Hall, to the drama and fame of a travelling theatre troupe and the poverty of 19th Century London, with a gallery of colourful characters along each stage of the journey.

Producer Nicolas Brown (Deceit, Hope and Glory) says: ‘Nicholas Nickleby is a tremendous narrative, setting moments of wild comedy against heartbreaking drama. The story introduces us to the low life of the time, the people just keeping their heads above water. It’s about back alleys and below stairs, as well as sweeping staircases and high society, with Dotheboys Hall featuring as part of Dickens’ campaign to reform the education system of his time.

‘We have striven to deliver an interpretation faithful to the spirit of the book. It has a strong moral message as Nicholas tries to make his way in the world against injustice and corruption and Ralph’s love of money and power. Although his father dies leaving no money, Nicholas’ journey makes him realise that he has been left with something far richer – morals and values.’

In the second instalment of The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby:

Nicholas leaves the Crummles on hearing of Kate’s humiliation and insists his family spurn Ralph’s protection. Forced to find a means of support, Nicholas meets textile merchant Charles Cheeryble and his twin Ned. The brothers offer him work and ask him to help them support the beautiful but poverty-stricken Madeline Bray.

Ralph’s bitterness towards his nephew increases when Verisopht is killed in a duel and Hawk flees to France, leaving Ralph no way of recouping his debts. Ralph is also hounded by a malicious ex-employee, Brooker, who claims he hides a valuable secret.

Desperate for revenge, Ralph helps Mr Squeers to kidnap the ailing Smike. Luckily, he is found, but the stress damages Smike’s health yet further.

Nicholas, meanwhile, has fallen in love with Madeline, but Ralph strikes a deal with money lender Arthur Gride to write off Madeline father’s debts in return for her marrying Gride. Nicholas is determined to save her while Ralph will stop at nothing to wreck Nicholas’ chance of happiness. But the net is closing in on Ralph and the truth about his past is about to be revealed…

The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby airs on Sunday April 15th at 20.40 on ITV

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