CHY 4U 2011: Dickens Revisited

I can’t think of a writer more closely associated with his/her era than Charles Dickens.  A prolific storyteller, Dickens’ impressive list of novels has shaped popular perception of the Victorian Era. If you doubt the writer’s influence, consider this: his famous novella A Christmas Carol has been cited as the origin for our festive celebrations of Christmas; before Dickens, working on Christmas was not unusual.  Amazingly, many of Dickens’ works were serials, meaning that they were published in  small segments as he progressed through the narrative; thus, his works were like an early version of episodic television.

In honour of Dickens–at least, I hope he would see it as an honour; I suppose it depends on the quality of your work–you will spend today and Monday creating a script for one of your favourite “serials”. Since it is essential that your group knows the show well, I will leave the choice up to you. Make sure, however, that your show is fiction; reality television will not work.  Sitcoms that focus on the day to day activities of the “average” family might fit nicely.

The trick, of course, is that the episode must be set in the Victorian Era, and must focus on one of the following.

  • The Great Exhibition
  • The first police forces in England (remember the Bow Street Runners?)
  • The creation of public education in England (remember the video we watched called Changing Educational Paradigms?)

Some ground rules:

  • Your script may be funny. It cannot, however, be tasteless.
  • Use 1/2 hour today to find out about the subject; make note of facts, details, and issues that may be useful. Next, brainstorm approaches that will allow you to integrate characters from the show of your choice into Victorian England.
  • We will present the scripts at the end of Monday’s class. I hope to see your best work. Remember that I am always available to provide guidance and feedback.

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