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BBC to complete unfinished Charles Dickens novel

2nd September 2011

Charles Dickens' final, unfinished novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, is to be completed ahead of a new BBC adaptation of the work.

When Dickens died in 1870, only half the novel had been completed, leaving readers guessing what may or may not have happened to the protagonists.

Now, however, Gwyneth Hughes – writer of the TV programmes Five Days and Miss Austen Regrets - has taken on the task of completing the novel so that it can be transferred to the small screen.

She is aiming to finish the work by the beginning of next year, when BBC Two will screen an adaptation to commemorate the bicentenary of Dickens' birth.

Hughes told the Telegraph that the novel's themes remain as relevant today as they have ever been and described Dickens as 'the great emotional extremist'.

'The tragedy of the erotically obsessed cathedral choirmaster, John Jasper, throbs with sexual menace, murder and opium addiction. But alongside his story runs a brilliant small-town social comedy which is often laugh-out-loud funny,' she added.

The adaptation will star Matthew Rhys as the obsessive Jasper, Tamzin Merchant as Rosa Bud, the object of his affection, and Freddie Fox as the titular Edwin Drood – Bud's betrothed and Jasper's own nephew.

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