The Mystery of Charles Dickens [Audible] - Thoroughly enjoyable!

The Mystery of Charles Dickens - Peter Ackroyd, Simon Callow

A short but informative performance by Simon Callow, with the script written by Peter Ackroyd. While I may have had my issues with Ackroyd in Albion, what he created here was an amazing look - brief but in depth - at a famous figure in English Literature. The bones might be his but Callow makes this performance.


This is a BBC radio production that appears to tie into the one man play, parts of which I've seen before and greatly enjoyed. He walks through the author's life and calls him and his characters forth with quotes from letters and his books. Callow follows in Dicken's tradition of dramatic reading, basically, and you can almost picture the man himself performing as he did for many years. Everyone from young Copperfield to Miss Haversham and beyond are included, each with their own voice.


My one issue is the volume of his voice at times. Sometimes, the words come out at almost a whisper while at others, he's shouting at the top of his lungs. Very dramatic and it does pull you into the story but it also makes this rather difficult to listen to without headphones. One minute you're missing something and the next the neighbors can here him.


For Doctor Who fans, they'll recognize Callow as the actor who played Dickens in the Tennant episodes The Unquiet Guest. An early one as well as one of my favorites.