Nicholas Nickleby ( - 2002)
Produced on a smaller scale than the legendary 1982 stage-and-TV adaptation of the same novel, this two-part, four-hour version of Charles Dickens' sweeping novel The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby nonetheless avoided the superficiality of the much shorter 1947 film version. This time around, James D'Arcy starred as the titular Nicholas, who after being put in the "care" of his nasty and manipulative uncle, embarked on any number of fascinating adventures, not least of which was his tenure with a group of strolling actors. The story ended as Nicholas found employment as a schoolteacher, and as his nasty uncle received his long-overdue comeuppance. Despite formidable competition from a powerhouse cast, Charles Dance emerged as the real star of the proceedings with his full-blooded performance as the venal Ralph Nickleby.