While this might not quite reach the heights of the 2005 BBC Serial version of dramatised masterpiece, it gets pretty close. The series is divided into roughly 50 minute episodes and includes all of the key plot details in its 418 minutes. The settings, characters and pace are all superb. Top marks to Denholm Elliott's masterly Mr Jarndyce, Diana Rigg as a dignified and tragic Lady Dedlock, and the wonderful Peter Vaughan (even better than Charles Dance) as Tulkinghorn. Esther's part is less central, her character more timid and several of the subplots and characters are ommitted. However, there are no weak links and although Ada, Rick and Smallweed perhaps get less meaty roles than their 2005 counterparts, Mr Guppy, Crook, Skimpole and Miss Flite all compare very favourably. The direction allows the action to flow steadily and tension is sustained if not quite with the same urgency, or X-Files style scene shifting technique of the more recent version. Great location contrasts between dark, dirty Chancery London, gloomy Chesney Wold and the countryside at Bleak House. A delight. Such a pity it is only available as an American import, Region 1 (USA) DVD.