How many episodes are in Great Expectations?

Great Expectations will be airing on BBC One tonight (March 26) at 9pm. The show from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight has been given a post-watershed makeover and is something of a departure from previous family-friendly versions of Charles Dickens’ novels audiences may be used to. The show features a foul-mouthed Pip Gargery (played by Fionn Whitehead), sexual references and an opium-addicted Miss Havisham (Olivia Colman). The actress even admitted she initially rejected the role before changing her mind.

The show has already been hit with criticism as some have called it “drivel” with Knight forced to address the backlash.

Writer Knight has explained his adaptation of Great Expectations: “I think that with any great writer like Dickens, the issues and the subjects that he deals with will always be timeless.

“They won’t be just of the time, they will be about the human condition. What I didn’t want to do – and I think Dickens never tried to do – was make something specifically political.”

The Taboo and SAS: Rogue Heroes writer went on to say: “You couldn’t write about certain things in Dickens’ time: certain elements of sexuality, crime, disobedience against the crown and state.

“What I tried to do was imagine if Dickens was writing the story now and had the freedom to go to those darker places, what would he do?

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Great Expectations will see some other big changes with Jaggers (Ashley Thomas) getting a bigger role in the story.

He said the morally grey Jaggers was a “real person”, who was “swaggering around” embodying London.

Knight said: “It was important to have a character who is morally in the middle of things. He sort of represents London; survive or die. He seems ruthless and awful but he’s not.”

Adding: “If he had been liberated to write the things that were going on that he wasn’t allowed to write about.”

How many episodes are in Great Expectations?

There is a total of six episodes in Great Expectations, which will be airing weekly instead of landing as a boxset.

This means fans will have to be patient and wait for each instalment to drop rather than being able to binge it.

Here is a list of episodes, a summary and air dates.

Episode 1.

The opening episode follows a young Pip (Tom Sweet), an orphan who longs for a better life than his humble working-class roots.

His life irrevocably changed when he meets escaped convict Magwitch (Johnny Harris) and helps him before he then is hired by Miss Havisham to become a young companion to her ward Estella (Chloe Lea).

Episode 2.

Pip continues his weekly education with Miss Havisham and Estella in the hopes of becoming a gentleman and elevating his status in life.

Through Miss Havisham’s cruel machinations, Pip begins to fall in love with Estella (Shalom Brune-Franklin).

Meanwhile, London lawyer Jaggers receives a letter which will again change Pip’s life again.

Episode 3.

Pip has a baptism of fire as he enters life in London as he starts working for Jaggers in less than salubrious surroundings.

Back in Gravesend, Estella realises Miss Havisham’s schemes for her haven’t ended just yet.

Episode 4.

Pip works for Jaggers with the young man engaging in some immoral employment and it starts to take a toll on him.

During his line of work, he will be brought into contact with Estella again and will leave Pip reeling.

Episode 5.

Pip will find his past coming back to haunt him as he tries to navigate it.

Episode 6.

Pip and Jaggers’ work will come to a head as Miss Havisham is finally forced to confront her past and tackle her demons.

While Estella will try to break free from her family bond after making a big discovery.

Great Expectations airs tonight on BBC One at 9pm