David Copperfield | 2000
Miniseries based on Charles Dickens' classic novel, "David Copperfield." Traces David Copperfield's life from his unhappy boyhood in the Salem House Academy to his triumph in life and love.
Part I: David Copperfield is born (shortly after the death of his father) much to the chagrin of his great aunt Betsey, who was hoping for a girl. Young David's childhood is a happy one, with his adoring mother, Clara, and their devoted housekeeper, Peggotty. That is, until a shadow falls over the household, in the form of his mother's suitor, Mr. Murdstone. David is sent on holiday with Peggotty to her brother's home, where he meets young Emily. Upon his return, David discovers that his mother has married Mr. Murdstone, a vicious disciplinarian. His new aunt, Jane Murdstone, proves to be no better.
Young David and his mother become virtual prisoners in their home, now run by the Murdstones. When David bites Mr. Murdstone during a beating, he is sent to a boarding school run by the tyrannical Mr. Creakle. Fortunately for David, he falls under the protection of an older student, James Steerforth. Just when life at the school becomes bearable, David's life comes crashing down around him. Without a hint of compassion, Mr. Creakle tells David his mother is dead and he is being sent to work in a London sweatshop owned by Mr. Murdstone.
Once again, David finds a patron, Mr. Micawber, a spendthrift family man with whom he lives. Before David can unpack his scarce belongings, Mr. Micawber's creditors catch up with him and he is thrown into debtor's prison. David finds himself homeless. Destitute, he makes his way to Dover to the home of Aunt Betsey. She offers him a safe and loving home with her odd but likeable companion, Mr. Dick. Aunt Betsey sends David to school and decides he will practice law. It seems that David finally has a bright future ahead of him.
Part II: Now a young man, David resides with Aunt Betsey's lawyer, Mr. Wickfield, and his daughter Agnes. Oblivious to Agnes' affections, David is quite taken with Dora Spenlow, the charming and flighty daughter of his employer. As he falls in love with Dora, David continues to remain ignorant of the affections of Agnes, whom he treats as a sister. He continues to court Dora as Jane Murdstone, David's past foe and Dora's companion, looks on. Meanwhile, Mr. Wickfield has made the obsequious Uriah Heep a partner in his firm. Heep confides his strong feelings for Agnes and that he would like to marry her. This greatly upsets Mr. Wickfield, who is already under extreme stress due to Heep's deceitful presence.
On his way to the playhouse one night, David runs into the hateful Mr. Murdstone, who warns him never to mention their history together. Distressed, David proceeds to the playhouse, where he encounters his old schoolboy hero, James Steerforth. Together they journey to visit David's old friends, the Peggottys. Upon arrival, David finds that Peggotty's husband Barkis is gravely ill. At the ship house, Peggotty's fisherman brother Daniel, his niece Emily and her fiancee Ham greet Steerforth and David. Instantly enamored of Emily, Steerforth ultimately convinces her to run away with him.
In time it is revealed that Heep has ruined his partner, Wickfield, as well as Aunt Betsey, who has come to live with David as a result. Meanwhile, David's old friend, Mr. Micawber, has become Heep's clerk. Shortly thereafter, David's boss Mr. Spenlow dies, leaving Dora penniless and consequently a fitting match for the equally destitute David. They marry and David pursues his new career as an author. Sadly, Dora falls sick soon after, and dies. Micawber exposes Heep's financial fraud and restores Betsey's wealth and Mr. Wickfield's good name. In the end, David formally and publically confronts the Murdstones, and realizes his love for his long-time confidante, Agnes Wickfield.