Like a fine gourmet meal, this adaptation of "David Copperfield" has something to suit every taste: a well-paced screenplay that keeps the tale bowling along, without losing the delights of some of Dickens' most sparkling dialogue; a rich gallery of characters; and a cast which features many of Britain's favourite actors. Ciaran McMenamin is the mature David, his youthful face increasingly clouded by the gathering of experience. Trevor Eve oozes evil as his stepfather Mr. Murdstone, ultimately neutralised by Maggie Smith's Aunt Betsey, whose comic performance of true genius gives frequent flashes of the vulnerable human being beneath. In other inspired pieces of casting, Nicholas Lyndhurst's incubus-like Uriah Heep haunts every scene he's in, and Pauline Quirk's Peggotty exudes the motherly warmth that sustains David during his darkest moments.
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