Great Expectations viewers fear Dickens is 'turning in his grave' after 'woke' adaptation

Olivia Colman burst onto screens on Sunday night as the terrifying Miss Havisham in Steven Knight’s new adaptation of Great Expectations. The Peaky Blinders creator’s take on the iconic tale of an English orphan who rises to wealth and ditches his true friends has divided BBC viewers, with many branding the adaption “woke”. Others feared Dickens would be “turning in his grave” over the remake.

The protagonist Philip Pirrip, better known as Pip, is played by Fionn Whitehead while Shalom Brune-Franklin plays Miss Havisham’s protégé, Estella.

Ashley Thomas stars as Mr Jaggers and Johnny Harris plays escaped convict Abel Magwitch.

The series was due to be darker than previous adaptations, but viewers felt this version is “woke” as well as “too dark” with too many expletives.

Martin Aaron fumed on Twitter: “What’s the point of adding ‘f*****g’ to Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations?

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“Is it supposed to make it more f*****g accessible or something? Seems a bit pathetic. #GreatExpectations”

Kazzie added: “Really trying with #GreatExpectations but this adaptation of one of my favourite novels of all time is a huge disservice and disrespect to the talent of #CharlesDickens one of our greatest storytellers. @BBCOne gone woke again. #IfItAintBrokeDontFixIt.”

Ciaran Goggins remarked: “#GreatExpectations woke nonsense. Charles Dickens must be turning in his grave.”

“Just gave up on the new adaptation of #GreatExpectations as I’m unable to see in the dark,” Matteo said. “Turn the lights on please.”

However, Rob Smith stated: “Absolutely superb! I expect nothing less from the legend that is Stephen Knight.

“And for all the anti-woke brigade, you should also watch Armando Ianucci’s David Copperfield. Hopefully, that fantastic adaptation of Dickens will (similarly) give you apoplexy!” (sic)

Raven commented: “I think people are forgetting Dickens wrote his work based on how society was in his time. Very dark, with child exploitation, rich and poor divide and corruption.

“Past films of his work haven’t really shown this. So this adaptation will hopefully highlight this. #GreatExpectations.”

The series comes just 12 years after the BBC’s last adaptation of the Dickens novel.

Pip actor Fionn told ahead of the new adaptation’s release: “The thing that I really wanted try and play as much as possible in our version of Great Expectations is the code-switching thing and the fact that the gentleman persona is much more of an act than the other thing, than him being a blacksmith’s boy.”

The prospect of playing Miss Havisham proved so daunting for Olivia that she initially turned it down before later reconsidering.

Great Expectations continues next Sunday at 9pm on BBC One.