Dickens 2003 | TV Show Watchlist

Season 1, Episode 1 Secrets

First Aired: December 17, 2003

Dickens scholar Peter Ackroyd probes the psyche of the 19th century's most famous author in this intriguing three-part profile, which juxtaposes Ackroyd's commentary with the insights of the author himself (played by Anton Lesser) and people associated with him. Added to the mix: scenes from film adaptations of Dickens novels that relate to his life. Part 1 covers his childhood, which began well in Kent, but ended badly in London. Dickens emerged from it “with an appetite for success and fame as if it might remove [its] taint,” and took to writing. Soon, “Dickens was starting to fill his work with the secrets of his own life,” Ackroyd says. And when he published “The Pickwick Papers,” at age 24, he became a celebrity.