This is one of the very best versions of this much-adapted novel. Casting and acting are excellent throughout, as is the general Dickensian atmosphere. Out of a host of superb performances I would pick Lesley Sharp as a truly frightening Mrs. Joe. It is quite a faithful adaptation and any tweaks to the plot are believable. My only 2 reservations are that, firstly, it feels a bit rushed at times (feeling they were trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot). This is especially evident in the opening sequences. Secondly, the dark scenes are VERY dark. I had to turn the brightness up. Overall though I prefer it even to David Lean's version. Lean's is better upto Magwitch's initial capture, and his young Estella is perfection (sorry but nobody will ever beat Jean Simmons although Gemma Gregory did well here). However, this develops characters such as Orlick (totally omitted by Lean), Biddy and Wemmick much more, although Wopsle as usual is given short shrift. The real clincher for me is the better handling of the age leap. In Lean's version, John Mills(too old and posh from the outset) and Valerie Hobson( again too old, too nice and not pretty enough) are completely miscast. Here, however, Ioan Gruffudd and Justine Waddell are much more convincing. Brilliant but with an extra 30 or 40 minutes, it could have been perfect.