TV Review: The Mystery of Edwin Drood
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If Charles Dickens was here today he would be 200, and following the anniversary of his death, BBC has hosted an array of programmes in his dedication, the latest show being The Mystery of Edwin Drood. A book in which Dickens unfortunately died halfway through leaving an ambiguous ending many scholars and authors have researched and re-written. This is definitely one of Dickens darkest pieces of work, as it follows Edwin Drood (Freddie Fox) and his envious, opium-addicted Uncle, John Jasper (Matthew Rhys), who is madly in love with Drood’s arranged fiancé Rosa Bud (Tamzin Merchant). The first episode started at full-pace showing one of Jaspers vivid, opium fuelled nightmares as he wrapped Edwin Drood’s necktie around his throat proceeding to strangle him to death. Literary experts have generally come to the conclusion that Jasper, if Dickens had finished his work, would have been the killer. However, the BBC seemed to jump into this, as we saw Jasper strangle Edwin to death at the end of the first episode, no doubt if Dickens had survived to finish the book he would have left the suspense a great deal longer. However, as the story progresses Jasper begins to lose his grip on reality and we begin to doubt whether he has actually murdered Edwin. Was this just another one of his opium fuelled dreams? The fact that the body of Drood was mysteriously, nowhere to be found grew on the audience suspicions. Crime writer Gwyneth Hughes certainly did an impressive job as she took it upon herself to create her own ending full of suspense. Before writing the two-part show she banned herself from reading any of the numerous authors’ attempts to finish the book, as not too influence her own ending. The television adamptation was absorbing from the start and created a stable pace which gradually increased right up to the end credits. This dark gothic tale is the latest example showcasing the work of Dickens and its ability to create perfect TV.