David Copperfield (1966 TV serial)

David Copperfield is a BBC television serial starring Ian McKellen in the title role of the adaptation of Charles Dickens's 1850 novel[1] that began airing in January 1966.[2] It also featured Tina Packer as Dora[3] Flora Robson as Betsey Trotwood,[4] Gordon Gostelow as Barkis,[5] and Christopher Guard as young David.[6] The screenplay adaptation was written by Vincent Tilsley.[7]

David Copperfield
David Copperfield (1966 TV serial).jpg
Radio Times cover with Christopher Guard
GenrePeriod drama
Written by
Directed byJoan Craft
ComposerJohn Hotchkis
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes13 (9 missing)
ProducerCampbell Logan
Running time25 minutes
Original networkBBC 1
Original release16 January (1966-01-16) –
10 April 1966 (1966-04-10)

It had a viewership of over 12 million for its initial airings.[8] Only four episodes of the serial's 13 episodes are known to exist.[9]


For a detailed plot, see David Copperfield (novel).


Critical receptionEdit

The BFI's Screenonline wrote "while this adaptation is occasionally light in the playing (comic music punctuates some of Micawber's gesticulations), it doesn't avoid the novel's tough incidents, and its length allows an unusual faithfulness to incident and character (finding room for Traddles and others omitted from shorter adaptations)."[10]


  1. ^ Sid Smith (21 January 1996). "A sly take on history: In his 'Richard III,' McKellen goes for the essential bard". Chicago Tribune. p. C7. Retrieved 18 February 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Ben Hewes (23 January 2002). "All the world's a stage for the Burnley actors". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 18 February 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Kevin Kelly (5 January 1992). "Decisions difficult but exhilarating for actress-director". The Boston Globe. p. B31.
  4. ^ "Dickens - David Copperfield". The Bookseller. 22 January 1966. p. 218.
  5. ^ Gavin Gaughan (20 July 2007). "Obituary: Gordon Gostelow: From Shakespeare to classic serials - and a Methodist musical". The Guardian. p. 43. Retrieved 18 February 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Films and filming, Volumes 340-351. Hansom Books. 1983. p. 30.
  7. ^ Joanne Shattock (2000). The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, Volume 4: 1800-1900. Cambridge University Press. p. 2098. ISBN 0-521-39100-8.
  8. ^ Papers by command. HMSO. 23: 21. 1966. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ "December delights". M2 Presswire. 26 October 1995.
  10. ^ "BFI Screenonline: David Copperfield (1966)". www.screenonline.org.uk.

External linksEdit