David Copperfield is simply glorious. Though not massively faithful to the book (a fact that may make die hard Dickens fans baulk) it presents its cut down version amazingly.
The BBC builds here on its impressive record of period dramas (including the impassible Pride and Predjudice in 1995), and whilstm being Dickens much of this production is set in dingy victorian London, it doesn't lose any of its beauty. The costumes are wonderful, the rich costumes suiting even the younger members of the cast. The two Davids are wonderful, Daniel Radcliffe shows, at the age of 9 the ability to draw in the viewer that would be exibited two years later as Harry Potter. His eyes alone, on the close ups are enough to make any viewer weep at the various injustices that befall our hero. Ciarán McMenamin is good as the adult David, though I admit a certain inability to see how the young David developed into him.
Of the rest of the cast, its virtually impossible to pick a best. Trevor Eve and Zoe Wannamaker show equal meaness in their roles as David's evil mental torturers and with a cast that also includes such greats as Ian McKellen, Bob Hoskins, Dawn French, Pauline Quirk and Emelia Fox it would be an injustice to single anyone out. That is, were it not for the spectacular performance of Maggie Smith, who pulls out all of the stops in her wonderful, heartwarming performance as David's aunt. The idea of anyone else now playing this role, seems foreign to me.
All in all this is a great adaptation of a great novel. Filmed in all its beauty by Simon Curtis and his wonderful crew. Let this version stand as a benchmark for a long long time.