Great Expectations (1989 TV series)

Last updated

Great Expectations
Based on Great Expectations
by Charles Dickens
Written byJohn Goldsmith
Directed by Kevin Connor
Music by Ken Thorne
Country of originUnited Kingdom
United States
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes3
ProducerGreg Smith
Cinematography Douglas Milsome
EditorBarry Peters
Running time120 mins per episode
Production companies HTV
Primetime Television Ltd.
Tesauro Television
Walt Disney Television
Original release
Network The Disney Channel
Release9 July (1989-07-09) 
11 July 1989 (1989-07-11) (USA)

Great Expectations is a British-American television serial based on Charles Dickens' 1861 novel of the same title. The serial was first broadcast in the US in three parts [1] on The Disney Channel in 1989, [2] [3] and in the UK in six parts on the ITV network in 1991. [4]


Jean Simmons, who played the role of the young Estella in the 1946 film, played Miss Havisham in the 1989 version. Other key roles include John Rhys-Davies as Joe Gargery, Ray McAnally as Jaggers, Anthony Calf as the adult Pip, Kim Thomson as both young and adult Estella, Adam Blackwood as Herbert Pocket, Anthony Hopkins as Abel Magwitch, Niven Boyd as Orlick, Susan Franklyn as Biddy and Martin Harvey as young Pip. Having the same actress play Estella as a child and adult provided a smoother transition in following the character than in some adaptations.

Serial format

The drama serial format, running five hours, enabled much more of the original story to be filmed than other versions, allowed the restoration of significant characters omitted in other versions, such as Orlick and Wopsle, and the better examination of the roles of other characters, such as Biddy, Drummle, Miss Havisham and the adult Estella. The result is more understandable plot development, and the revelation of themes of the work that tend to be obscured in shorter versions, such as class striving and the values of character vs. wealth. This version takes relatively few liberties with characters and plot turns, and adheres closely to Dickens' published ending.

Plot summary



Harty church on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent - scene in the TV series for the moment when the orphan Pip meets the escaped convict, Magwitch. Harty Church 1.JPG
Harty church on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent – scene in the TV series for the moment when the orphan Pip meets the escaped convict, Magwitch.

Harty Church on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent was used for the moment when young orphan Pip, whilst visiting his parents' grave, meets the escaped convict, Abel Magwitch. Upnor Village was used as the home of Herbert Pocket's fiancée Clara's house. Upnor Lighthouse is visible as Pip docks in the village. [5]


The first episode aired on the Disney Channel on July 9, 1989. It was released on video in 1990. [6]

Related Research Articles

<i>Great Expectations</i> 1860–1861 novel by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations is the thirteenth novel by Charles Dickens and his penultimate completed novel. It depicts the education of an orphan nicknamed Pip. It is Dickens' second novel, after David Copperfield, to be fully narrated in the first person. The novel was first published as a serial in Dickens's weekly periodical All the Year Round, from 1 December 1860 to August 1861. In October 1861, Chapman & Hall published the novel in three volumes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Miss Havisham</span> Fictional character in Charles Dickens Great Expectations

Miss Havisham is a character in the Charles Dickens' 1861 novel Great Expectations. She is a wealthy spinster, once jilted at the altar, who insists on wearing her wedding dress for the rest of her life. She lives in a ruined mansion with her adopted daughter, Estella. Dickens describes her as looking like "the witch of the place". In the novel, she schemes to have the young orphan, Pip, fall in love with Estella, so that Estella can "break his heart."

Estella (<i>Great Expectations</i>) Dickens novel character

Estella Havisham is a significant character in Charles Dickens' 1861 novel Great Expectations.

Pip (<i>South Park</i>) 14th episode of the 4th season of South Park

"Pip" is the fourteenth episode in the fourth season of the American animated television series South Park. The 62nd episode of the series overall, it first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 29, 2000. Going by production order, it is the fifth episode of the fourth season instead of the fourteenth. The episode is a parody and comedic retelling of Charles Dickens's 1861 novel Great Expectations, and stars the South Park character Pip, who assumes the role of the protagonist of the novel, who is his eponym. "Pip" features no other regular characters from the show. The story is narrated in a live action parody of the anthology television series Masterpiece Theater, with the narrator played by Malcolm McDowell.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (1946 film) 1946 film by David Lean

Great Expectations is a 1946 British drama film directed by David Lean, based on the 1861 novel by Charles Dickens and starring John Mills and Valerie Hobson. The supporting cast included Bernard Miles, Francis L. Sullivan, Anthony Wager, Jean Simmons, Finlay Currie, Martita Hunt and Alec Guinness.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Abel Magwitch</span> Fictional character

Abel Magwitch is a major fictional character from Charles Dickens' 1861 novel Great Expectations.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (1934 film) 1934 film by Stuart Walker

Great Expectations is a 1934 adaptation of the 1861 Charles Dickens novel of the same name. Filmed with mostly American actors, it was the first sound version of the novel and was produced in Hollywood by Universal Studios and directed by Stuart Walker. It stars Phillips Holmes as Pip, Jane Wyatt as Estella and Florence Reed as Miss Havisham.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (1974 film) 1974 US/UK drama film by Joseph Hardy

Great Expectations is a 1974 film made for television based on the Charles Dickens 1861 novel of the same name. It was directed by Joseph Hardy, with screenwriter Sherman Yellen and music by Maurice Jarre, starring Michael York as Pip, Simon Gipps-Kent as Young Pip and Sarah Miles as Estella. The production, for Transcontinental Films and ITC, was made for US television and released to cinemas in the UK. It broke with tradition by having the same actress play both the younger and older Estella. The film was shot by Freddie Young. It was filmed in Eastmancolor and it was entered into the 9th Moscow International Film Festival in 1975.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (1999 film) British TV series or programme

Great Expectations is a 1999 television film adaptation of Charles Dickens’s 1861 novel of the same name. It was aired on BBC Two in the UK, and on Masterpiece Theatre in the US.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (1917 film) 1917 silent drama film

Great Expectations is a lost 1917 silent drama film directed by Robert G. Vignola and Paul West, based on the 1861 novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Jack Pickford stars as Pip and Louise Huff as Estella.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (1981 TV series) British TV series or programme

Great Expectations is a 1981 BBC drama serial based on the 1861 novel by Charles Dickens. It was directed by Julian Amyes and adapted by James Andrew Hall.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Compeyson</span> Fictional character

Compeyson is the main antagonist of Charles Dickens' 1861 novel Great Expectations, a 'George Wickham'-esque man, whose criminal activities harmed two people, who in turn shaped much of protagonist Pip's life.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (2011 TV series) 2011 TV serial directed by Brian Kirk

Great Expectations is a three-part BBC television drama adaptation by Sarah Phelps of the Charles Dickens’s 1861 novel of the same name, starring Ray Winstone as Magwitch, Gillian Anderson as Miss Havisham, Douglas Booth as Pip, Vanessa Kirby as Estella and David Suchet as Jaggers. The adaptation was first broadcast on British television over the Christmas period in 2011.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (2012 film) 2012 British film

Great Expectations is a 2012 British-American film adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1861 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Mike Newell, with the adapted screenplay by David Nicholls, and stars Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Holliday Grainger, Ralph Fiennes and Robbie Coltrane. It was distributed by Lionsgate.

Great Expectations: The Untold Story is a 1987 Australian film which was made as a feature film and a mini series.

Pip (<i>Great Expectations</i>) Fictional character

Philip Pirrip, called Pip, is the protagonist and narrator in Charles Dickens's novel Great Expectations (1861). He is amongst the most popular characters in English literature. Pip narrates his story many years after the events of the novel take place. The novel follows Pip's process from childhood innocence to adulthood. The financial and social rise of the protagonist is accompanied by an emotional and moral deterioration, which forces Pip to recognize his negative expectations in a new self-awareness.

<i>An Orphans Tragedy</i> 1955 Hong Kong film

An Orphan's Tragedy is a 1955 Hong Kong drama film co-written and directed by Chu Kei and starring Bruce Lee, Ng Cho-fan, Lau Hak-suen, Josephine Siao and Cheung Wood-yau. The film is a loose adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1861 novel Great Expectations.

<i>Great Expectations</i> (1967 TV series) British TV series or programme

Great Expectations is a British television series which first aired on BBC 1 in 1967. It is an adaptation of the 1861 novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, which follows a humble orphan suddenly becoming a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

Great Expectations is a historical fiction television miniseries developed by Steven Knight, based on the 1861 novel by Charles Dickens. It premiered on BBC One on 26 March 2023, followed by its US premiere on FX on Hulu later the same day.


  1. Pointer, Michael (1996). Charles Dickens on the Screen. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 192; ISBN   0-8108-2960-6.
  2. Rosenberg, Howard (7 July 1989). "Disney Miniseries Lives Up to 'Great Expectations'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  3. Rule, Sheila (2 July 1989). "TELEVISION; A Great 'Great Expectations' Haunts a TV Version" The New York Times. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  4. Radio Times, 20–26 July 1991
  5. Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Great Expectations Film Focus".
  6. "Great Expectations (television)". D23. Retrieved 22 February 2024.