I finished watching the 1981 BBC twelve part (or is it thirteen) series yesterday on YouTube. The production values weren't brilliant, but it was reasonably faithful to the book. Some of the meetings and events are compressed or occur in the wrong place or out of order, no doubt due to time and budget constraints. A lot of Dickens' lines survive though. I thought Joan Hickson was great as Miss Havisham, Stratford Johns was just as good as Magwich, and Derek Francis good as Jaggers. I thought Phillip Joseph was excellent as Joe Gargery, although he did not look much older than Pip. The actors who played Orlick and Bentley Drummle were appropriately unpleasant. I thought Sarah-Jane Varley's performance as Estella was odd. She seemed rather glassy. Maybe she was trying to portray her as clinically depressed. Actually, Patsy Kensit who played young Estella also seemed rather sullen and depressed, not something I got from the book. A lot of the cast seemed a bit too old, particularly Pip, Herbert and Biddy. They're supposed to be teenagers when Pip leaves for London, but they all look in their mid to late twenties. Even Jaggers and Miss Havisham seem a bit older than they should be. The only one who is too young is Joe. Except for being a tad too old, I thought Gerry Sandquist, who played Pip, was pretty good. However he wasn't quite a good enough actor to deliver some of those speeches well enough. The series is slightly plodding, but each episode is only 25 mins, which is about as much as I can take at a time anyway.
I may give the 1946 David Lean version a go. The clips I've seen on YouTube look excellent. John Mills and Alec Guiness were way too old to play Pip and Herbert, but I suppose I will have to crank up the suspension on my disbelief.
The recent BBC adaption with Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham looks like an utter abortion from the clips I've seen. Totally miscast with all Dickens' lines replaced by inferior ones. BBC drama output is useless these days.
I have some reservations about the new film that's coming out this year, although it does have the lovely Holliday Grainger as Estella.