So the Beeb’s Xmas showpiece reached its conclusion last night with Pip in a jam. Not only was the arrival of Magwitch a serious embarrassment to a young man with pretensions, but it left him with the problem of how to get rid of a villain wanted by both the constabulary and the rascally Compeyson. The latter, who was the ruffian from the fens and Miss Havisham’s old swain, had offered a reward of £1000 for Magwitch. Enough to tempt Orlick from the forge into making some mischief. Though to be fair Pip had crossed Orlick so many times he’d likely have interfered for nothing. How would Pip to get Magwitch to safety? Why, by leaving it to Wemmick and Herbert of course, while he was left free to make pained expressions and high-mindedly refuse anymore of Magwitch’s lucre.
Pip’s facial rictus became yet more pronounced when he found that Estella was to marry Bentley Drummle. This pushed him to stop forelock tugging and finally tell Miss Havisham a few home truths. Whether it was this or her continued rejections by Estella I’m not sure, but Miss H was inspired to test the flammability of her old wedding dress (while wearing it), giving Gillian Anderson a terrific death scene to top a riveting performance.