So this really is Dickens for 21st century

In an old Wire-ophile post here, I called the Wire Dickens for the 21st century.

In case that wasn’t clear enough, this was supposed to be a compliment…. I was referring to Dickens’ passionate awareness of social injustice, the huge cast of wierd characters and his plots that took in every section of society. (Obviously, I’m alive in the 21st century, so I think the Wire outshines Dickens, but that’s just me.)

I have carefully failed to rave endlessly about Wire series 4 because I blatantly can’t do it justice. Plus, I have to see it a few more times to even begin to tie together the plot strands and understand the subtle ironies and get all the references. yada. yada.

But wow, there is actually going to be a Dickens for the 21st century and its name is Dickens World.

No, really. A faked Victorian London is being created as we speak. According to the BBC:

The overall effect is rather like Disney painted brown and plunged into twilight.

“Highlights” will allegedly include a Great Expectations boat ride, a Haunted House of Ebenezer Scrooge, Newgate Debtor’s Prison and a Dotheboys Hall Victorian classroom.

I must admit to being baffled as to who this is going to appeal to. I thought of myself, aged about 8, an obsessive reader who was lucky enough to live next door to a public library. I vacuumed up all of Dickens’ books, although even I recoiled at the mawkish bits. I certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed Dickens World at all.

Kids who don’t enjoy reading Dickens are not going to have any idea what any of the set pieces are about. So I imagine it will be a depressing experience to visit a downbeat version of Disney World for them.

Even in the event that a non-reading-obsessed child becomes interested by it and picks up a copy of Great Expectations or David Copperfield…. Bloody Hell, these are A Level English Literature set books. That will put off the average kid from reading for life.

This park was thought up by the creator of Santa’s World and (Hans Christian) Andersen World. Theme parks based round a Christmas myth and a collection of only moderately disturbing fairy tales. ( Not a Brothers Grimm Theme Park, you might note.)

Somehow a theme park based on child labour, workhouses, disease, debtor’s prisons, homeless orphans and child thieves’ gangs doesn’t seem like very much in the way of fun.

No, what am I thinking? I am putting in my patent claim now for the concept of a Wire theme park. (I have already drawn up the specs. I’m not wasting an investment opportunity by putting the details here.)

No, forget that. It’s in the USA, it may not be harrowing enough. What about a theme park that shows what life is like in parts of the cities of the developing world. Do you see the entertainment potential in child labour, orphans, child thieves’ gangs, ruin, disease, homeless kids raising each other in the streets? Blimey. What fun.

6 thoughts on “So this really is Dickens for 21st century

  1. I find Andersen creepier than the Grimms. The Grimm stories are much more violent, but there’s something horribly twisted about Andersen — the double death in “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” the fading away of the Little Mermaid, the mind-twisting powers of the Snow Queen, and everything about “The Red Shoes.”

  2. Not really sure what that had to do with dickens, I have the strong suspicion it is a spam comment but I will let it stand for now.

  3. TW, were you referring to my post? The premise of our movie is the juxtaposition of a Dickensian orphan and the world of telemarketing. Seemed on point to me, but of course feel free to delete if you’d prefer.

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