Andrew Davies, the producer who brought to the small screen the popular "Pride and Prejudice" series that drew 12 million viewers in 1995, will adapt the Dickens' work into 20 30-minute episodes.
"Dickens seemed particularly suitable because there are so many characters, there's such a lot of life, such a number of criss-crossing plots that it would be interesting to do it in a new way, with shorter episodes and having a lot of characters in the background of each other's stories," Davies said.
In developing the series, the BBC hopes to combine the suspense of popular shows, such as "Eastenders" and "Coronation Street," with the highbrow appeal of costume drama.
The 30-minute show, delivered twice a week, will be a first for BBC television, as their costume dramas traditionally appear in hour-long weekly installments.
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