David Copperfield
Radio Times cover, September 1956
GenrePeriod drama
Based onDavid Copperfield
1850 novel
by Charles Dickens
Screenplay byVincent Tilsley
Directed byStuart Burge
StarringRobert Hardy
Sonia Dresdel
Richard Goolden
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes13 (all missing)
ProducerDouglas Allen
EditorEddie Wallstab (filmed inserts)
Running time30 minutes
Original release
NetworkBBC tv
Release28 September (1956-09-28) –
21 December 1956 (1956-12-21)

David Copperfield is a 1956 BBC TV adaptation of Charles Dickens's 1850 novel, serialised in 13 episodes.[1][2] No recordings of this production are known to exist.[3]

Although little is known of this version, it is said to have been remarkably similar to the 1966 BBC adaptation made almost a decade later, which was also written by Vincent Tilsley. It is also significant for being the first Dickens adaptation by the BBC for television.


The series is notable for being the debut television appearance of three actors later to become household names: Robert Hardy, Bernard Cribbins, and Graham Crowden.

Archive status

All thirteen episodes are believed to be lost. Broadcast live with pre-filmed inserts for exterior scenes, it is unknown if this serial was ever telerecorded for preservation. If it was, the films were most likely junked sometime between 1967 and 1978, when the BBC routinely discarded older programmes to make way for new material. It was quite possibly even destroyed due to the later 1966 and 1974 adaptations making it obsolete for rebroadcast.


  1. ^ "David Copperfield: Episode 1". 28 September 1956. p. 44 – via BBC Genome.
  2. ^ "David Copperfield Episode 13 (1956)". BFI. Archived from the original on 17 January 2021.
  3. ^ Brunsdon, Charlotte (19 January 2018). Television Cities: Paris, London, Baltimore. Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822372516 – via Google Books.