Episode 1 of Little Dorrit

Episode 1 of Little Dorrit is shown on BBC1 in the UK on Sunday 26 October at 8:00 pm. This episode is one hour.

Read more for synopsis (Spoilers)

The story begins as Arthur Clennam makes his way home to London after spending 15 years in China.

In quarantine, in Marseilles, he meets Pet Meagles and her parents, also returning to England, and strikes up a friendship with hope of romance. But Arthur isn't the only one of the party hoping for a fresh start. Pet's companion, Tattycoram, is increasingly unhappy with her lot and, when she meets the mysterious Miss Wade, she sees the chance to escape.

Back home in London, Arthur is surprised to find a young woman, Amy Dorrit, working for his stern and forbidding mother. Mrs Clennam is a woman not ordinarily given to charity and Arthur immediately scents a mystery. Perhaps it has something to do with his father's dying words: "Your mother, Arthur. Put it right!" And so he sets himself the task of tracing whatever connection there may be between his father's guilt and this young woman.

Arthur's quest takes him to the Marshalsea prison for debt, where Amy lives with her father, William Dorrit – Mr Dorrit is a long-term debtor who hasn't been outside the prison walls for more than 20 years. Amy, his youngest child, is his help and support, looking after father, brother, uncle and sister, cheerfully and with the best of grace. Arthur's arrival in her life begins a story that will see the Dorrits's fortunes rise and fall along with those of a rich cross-section of London society. Landlords and rent collectors, plasterers, bankers, turnkeys, prisoners, gentlemen and paupers, wastrels and dancing girls, engineers, artists, dowagers and butlers and the most charismatic French villain since Napoleon all trip in and out of the story as Arthur and Amy walk the rocky road to love.