BBC offers an ending to Dickens's unfinished novel

Thu Jan 27, 2011 2:30am EST
 
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Charles Dickens's unfinished work "The Mystery Of Edwin Drood" is to be given a new ending in a BBC adaptation for television.

Dickens died in 1870 before he could finish the story of the title character's mysterious disappearance and resolve Drood's relationships with fiancee Rosa Bud and his uncle, the choirmaster John Jasper who is in love with Rosa.

Writer Gwyneth Hughes has completed the tale for a BBC drama, which will be screened later this year, the broadcaster said on Wednesday.

Before Dickens died after suffering a stroke, he gave his friend and biographer John Forster a brief outline of the story, for which a number of writers have tried to supply an ending.

Just a few months after the author's death, American satirist Robert Henry Newell published a parody of the novel entitled "The Cloven Foot." Shortly afterwards the journalist Henry Morford offered a version explaining the mystery, and in 1873, a Vermont printer Thomas James "channeled" Dickens's spirit to find the "authentic" ending.

A musical adaptation, meanwhile, in which the audience votes on who they think is behind the mystery, gathered five Tony awards during its run on Broadway.

The BBC's Drood adaption forms part of a season of programs on TV and radio to celebrate the printed word for the BBC's Year Of Books.

(Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Steve Addison)