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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 October 2005, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Bleak House will 'break TV mould'
Anna Maxwell Martin

The star of BBC One's new drama Bleak House believes it can break the mould and change how viewers think about TV.

Anna Maxwell Martin, 27, who plays heroine Esther in the Victorian thriller, believes viewers will enjoy the soap-style scheduling.

Rather than screening the eight-hour serial on Sunday nights the BBC has decided to show it after EastEnders.

It is split into half hour episodes with cliff-hangers just as writer Charles Dickens intended.

"Bleak House is really accessible to all kinds of people. What is the point in making television that doesn't challenge viewers?" she told the BBC News website.

"There are some things you need to think about but it isn't confusing," she added.

"If people don't want to think then they can switch over to the latest piece of reality television. It is doing something different, it's on a big scale and it has a brilliant cast."

Bit of grit

TV writer Andrew Davies has adapted the original book for the screen and made Esther much less sugary sweet than she appeared in the original.

Bleak House
Bleak House is a star-studded affair

"I don't know whether modern audiences would find Esther very believable, she has a bit more grit than the way Dickens wrote her," said Maxwell Martin.

The drama, which cost 750,000 an hour, has a cast featuring Charles Dance, Gillian Anderson and Nathaniel Parker.

"It was overwhelming," said Maxwell Martin.

"I was constantly rendered mute by all these people who came in to the make-up trailer like Anne Reid and Phil Davis. As you watch it a great British screen legend pops up one after another."

Bleak House, BBC One, 2000 BST, Thursday. Part two BBC One Friday, 2000BST

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