The Mystery of Edwin Drood BBC1

Charles Dickens made it (roughly) halfway through this intriguing tale of love and murder  before he died.

There have been many thoughts as to who the killer was over the years so it was good to see what I considered a coherent ending to Dickens unfinished symphony.

The story is set in Cloisterham, a Rochester in Kent from Dickens childhood, a place that he loved and went back to time and again in his novels.

The novel really spends time focusing on John Jasper, that is Edwin Drood Jnr’s uncle. Drood has been in his uncles care since his father died, Edwin looks up to (who he calls Jack) Jasper who looks upon him as a son. But Jasper is a drug addict and the story opens with him in an opium den and this is where we start with this adaptation.

Dickens was in fact dying when he was writing this and it is very dark and portrayed as so on screen. Jasper dreams of killing Drood from the off and we encounter his opium dream and the strangling of Drood with his own scarf in a Cathedral…very dark indeed and as the story continues we find that the choir master is really an uber-stalker fixated on Drood’s fiancée Rosa Bud and not the pious individual he would have people believe especially after throwing an urchin around in the church yard, not really the done thing for a man loosely connected to the cloth!

Rosa and Drood split and in a laudanum induced frenzy Jasper kills Drood…or does he?

I didn’t think so as it was far too obvious and we learn that Edwin Drood Senior is alive but Jasper can’t remember what he has done and only that he has killed someone. jasper tries his hardest to incriminate (from Ceylon)  Neville Landless and then decides to embark a rather scary campaign to seduce the Rosa by any cruel means necessary.

Of course we still have no body!

and you will just have to watch it on the BBC Iplayer to find out what happens but I genuinely enjoyed this adaptation, Matthew Rhys, Freddie Fox and Alun Armstrong were great…and a worthy edition to the many of Dickens Adaptations.



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