Amy Dorrit was born and raised in the Marshalsea, a debtor's prison where her father has spent over 20 years. She's a tiny young woman with the thankless role of caring for her fretful insecure father and selfish older siblings. Amy finds seamstress work with Mrs Clennam, a harsh puritanical old woman I'd call the mother of hellfire .
Mrs Clennam's middle-aged son Arthur Clennam returns, or rather escapes from the family business in China. He brings a mysterious watch given by his dying father, and his intriguing last words which imply their family has committed some wrongdoing. His mother coldly refuses to divulge anything, but the son begins to suspect his family is in some way involved in the misfortunes of the Dorrits.
So many characters - there are still some left out
Ok, boring stuff over. For those of you who have seen the show, have a go at naming all the characters in the above two images. Go on! I challenge you to do it in under 60 seconds! Then, see if you can name all the characters MISSING from the above two images. I can name 14 missing characters.
As you can see this show seethes with so many quirky characters you might struggle to remember them all. First time viewing I got impatient because I was busting to find out about the mysterious watch and didn't want the confusion of so many other plot strands. The watch even contains a bit of cloth that says "do not forget" on it, urging everyone of it's plot importance so how could I forget it? However with the second viewing you can sit back, have fun with all the amusing caricatures and trinkets and see the events unfold in light of the revelations from the final episode.
If you're like me and are too shallow to subject yourself to depressing slums, bleak childhoods and squalid poverty, never fear. Despite its serious themes and wholesome main characters Little Dorrit doesn't always take itself seriously. It's rather whimsical in its tone thanks to the writhing mess of comical and sometimes over-the-top secondary characters balancing out the gloomy London scenes. I can even imagine it being remade for kids as an animated movie series. "Each week collect one of the 37 Little Dorrit toy figures with your purchase of a Happy Meal! This week it's Mr Tite Barnacle." Yes, that's an actual name. I'd be in plastic toy heaven. Stay tuned for more. I'm doing this Dorrit style, episodic!