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Charles Dickens's England Review

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Derek Jacobi takes us around all the English landmarks that featured Dickens' life and works.

★★★★★

Replete with anecdotes and extracts, this guide to the people and places that inspired Charles Dickens feels like a throwback to the glory days of British Transport Films.

Of necessity, it’s only a whistle-stop tour and the facts and figures might tumble in a little too frantically for non-aficionados. But Derek Jacobi makes an eager and estimable companion, as he interacts with experts and landmarks with equal relish. Moreover, he brings Dickens’ times and works to vivid life, whether exploring museums in Portsmouth, hostelries in Kent or the landscape of imperial London. Yet this feature is also exhaustingly peripatetic, as it simply tries to pack too much in.

Whilst the tone and intention are admirable, the excess of facts and locations spread the message and cohesiveness a little thin.