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Nicholas Nickleby 

A young, compassionate man struggles to save his family and friends from the abusive exploitation of his cold-hearted, grasping uncle.








Complete series cast summary:
Nigel Havers ...  Nicholas Nickleby 6 episodes, 1977
Peter Bourke Peter Bourke ...  Smike 6 episodes, 1977
Derek Godfrey Derek Godfrey ...  Ralph Nickleby 6 episodes, 1977
Robert James ...  Newman Noggs 6 episodes, 1977
Kate Nicholls Kate Nicholls ...  Kate Nickleby 6 episodes, 1977
Hilary Mason ...  Mrs. Nickleby 6 episodes, 1977
Malcolm Reid Malcolm Reid ...  Mr. Alfred Mantalini 6 episodes, 1977
Derek Francis ...  Wackford Squeers 5 episodes, 1977
Patricia Routledge ...  Madame Mantalini 5 episodes, 1977
Patsy Smart ...  Miss La Creevy 4 episodes, 1977
Anthony Ainley ...  Sir Mulberry Hawk 4 episodes, 1977
Nigel Hughes Nigel Hughes ...  Lord Frederick Verisopht 4 episodes, 1977
Denis Gilmore ...  Wackford Jnr 3 episodes, 1977
Raymond Mason Raymond Mason ...  Charles Cheeryble 3 episodes, 1977
Preston Lockwood Preston Lockwood ...  Tim Linkinwater 3 episodes, 1977
Andrew McCulloch ...  John Browdie 3 episodes, 1977
John Hewer John Hewer ...  Edwin Cherryble 3 episodes, 1977
Ron Pember Ron Pember ...  Mr. Snawley 3 episodes, 1977
Isabelle Amyes Isabelle Amyes ...  Miss Fanny Squeers 3 episodes, 1977
Hetty Baynes ...  Matilda Price 3 episodes, 1977
Patricia Brake ...  Madeline Bray 2 episodes, 1977
Edward Burnham ...  Mr. Lillyvick 2 episodes, 1977
Anne Ridler Anne Ridler ...  Mrs. Squeers 2 episodes, 1977
Mark Teale Mark Teale ...  Belling 2 episodes, 1977
Pauline Moran ...  Miss Petowker 2 episodes, 1977
Dennis Edwards Dennis Edwards ...  Mr. Walter Bray 2 episodes, 1977
Freddie Jones ...  Mr. Vincent Crummles 2 episodes, 1977
Paul Curran ...  Arthur Gride 2 episodes, 1977
Roger Pope Roger Pope ...  Cobbey 2 episodes, 1977
Mark Rogers Mark Rogers ...  Graymarsh 2 episodes, 1977
Tom Durham Tom Durham ...  Mr. Lenville 2 episodes, 1977
Peter Forbes-Robertson Peter Forbes-Robertson ...  Thomas Folair 2 episodes, 1977
David Griffin ...  Frank Cheeryble 2 episodes, 1977
Pauline Letts Pauline Letts ...  Mrs. Crummles 2 episodes, 1977
Paul Pender Paul Pender ...  Mobbs 2 episodes, 1977
Joolia Cappleman Joolia Cappleman ...  Miss Snevellicci 2 episodes, 1977
Ann Hasson Ann Hasson ...  The Infant Phenomenon 2 episodes, 1977
Paul Ellison Paul Ellison ...  Bolder 2 episodes, 1977
Alan Collins Alan Collins ...  Brooker 2 episodes, 1977
Liz Smith ...  Peg Sliderskew 2 episodes, 1977
John Owens ...  Mr. Pluck 2 episodes, 1977
David Whitworth David Whitworth ...  Mr. Pyke 2 episodes, 1977
Philip Trewinnard Philip Trewinnard ...  Waiter 2 episodes, 1977
Tony Sympson Tony Sympson ...  Old Gentleman 2 episodes, 1977


After the death of his father, Nicholas Nickleby along with his sister Kate and their mother find themselves in difficult conditions. They relocate to London in the hope that Uncle Ralph Nickleby, a successful businessman, will help them out but he proves to be difficult and cold towards his relatives. Nicholas sets off on a series of adventures starting as a school master for the one-eyed Wackford Squeers. He soon escapes the school and in the company of his new friend Smike, joins a theater group in Portsmouth. Good fortune befalls him when he meets the Cheerybles who offer him stable employment. His uncle has taken a severe dislike to the boy however and goes out of his way to make life difficult for him. Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


This was the first leading role on television for Nigel Havers. See more »


Version of Nicholas Nickleby (1912) See more »

User Reviews

On the most part it's very good, though with flaws
14 September 2013 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

The book is, as ever with Charles Dickens, an absorbing and interesting read if somewhat sprawling in structure. This 1977 adaptation is fine generally as an adaptation and it does very well on its own terms. In regard to Dickens adaptations, it's neither among the best or worst ever- sort of the very solid but flawed kind- but of Nicholas Nickleby it is one of the better ones. A couple of scenes especially the Matilda Price tea party scene did agreed seem underwritten, and the adaptation can feel rushed. The book has a lot going on, and the adaptation while mostly fine could have done with more time to breathe to develop things more. Two performances didn't seem quite there, Kate Nicholls spent a lot of her screen time looking lost and Anthony Ainley plays Sir Mulberry Hawk far too broadly.

But the rest of the performances are fine though, the secondary characters are somewhat caricatures anyway but the actors, some with stage experience, give them their all. Freddie Jones and Patricia Routledge are particularly worth looking out for. Nigel Havers plays Nicholas with sincerity and hot-headedness, he is in a way too old for the character but when he plays him so well it doesn't matter. Peter Bourke's Smike is extraordinarily moving, Derek Francis is a menacing Wackford Squeers and Hilary Mason is outstanding as Mrs Nickleby(not many other adaptations of the book have written Mrs Nickleby as well as here as well). Derek Godfrey's Ralph Nickleby is commanding and complex, I interpreted the reason for Ralph's suicide to be because of the thought of his only son dying hating him, this said this is clear in the book but could have been a little more in the adaptation. The Cheerybles could have been problematically played, agreed it is because the characters are impossibly good, but very nicely filled actually.

It is a very well made and slickly directed adaptation too, skilfully shot with nothing unnatural about it. The countryside views and sets are breathtaking and true to the period, nothing too clean or bleak here, and the towns, houses and costumes are very well-thought out. The music is kept at minimum, to the point it's barely used. Considering though that the narrative changes around tonally a lot that was a very good decision to make. The dialogue is literate, with the comic elements funny, the sinister elements suspenseful and the heartfelt drama poignant. Very Dickenesian too in flavour. The story is compelling, faithful and easy to follow, just that because of the sprawling structure and a tendency to be rushed there are moments of choppiness here and there.

Overall, flawed but very good and works generally works adaptation-wise too. 8/10 Bethany Cox

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Release Date:

27 March 1977 (UK) See more »

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Technical Specs


(6 parts)

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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