Steven Knight's adaptation of the Charles Dickens' classic Great Expectations burst onto screens last weekend. The cast for the BBC series includes The Crown's Olivia Colman as spinster Miss Havisham and Johnny Harris as convict Abel Magwitch. The latter has opened up about losing a considerable amount of weight to prepare for the iconic role.

Great Expectations follows the story of an English orphan called Philip Pirrip, better known as Pip, who is played by Fionn Whitehead.

He learns how to be a gentleman with the help of Miss Havisham and her protégé, Estella (played by Shalom Brune-Franklin).

As protagonist Pip rises the ranks in society following his training, he turns his back on his loved ones.

Ahead of his transformation into a London gentleman, Pip lived with his sister and his blacksmith uncle in the marshes.

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In the opening episode of the BBC series, Pip comes across Magwitch who is on the run from the authorities.

The youngster supplies the escaped convict with food and a file to free him from his chains.

From that moment, Magwitch never forgets the kindness Pip gave him in a time of need.

Johnny, who plays the criminal in the series, opened up about shredding more than 20 pounds for the legendary role.

He told the BBC: "Yes, we were laughing when I took the role on!

"I was quite overweight and there was potentially a naked scene where we'd see Magwitch's body, and he's very strong and hungry - famished - on the run in shackles and he hasn't eaten, so I needed to lose weight for sure, and ideally I would have put some muscle on as well."

"I lost 22lbs - it's a lot of weight to lose," he added. "I didn't know I had that on me if I'm honest, but it came off, and so to do that it was a very strict diet."

He quipped: "It's not easy, at my age, I love my puddings and desserts."

The star said when the diet finished he "never wanted to see another piece of broccoli again".

Johnny continued: "And then we came to Pinewood Studios, in the water tank, and to make it look like the Thames, they put like a silt in it and fill it with broken broccoli.

"I probably ate more broccoli that day than in the previous four month of the shoots!

"So now I officially don't ever want to see another piece of broccoli as long as I live. I'm done with that stuff."

The six-part series was met with mixed reviews when the first instalment aired last Sunday, with come branding the adaptation "woke".

In the second episode, Pip's greatest desire is to learn from Miss Havisham and Estella how to become a gentleman.

An official synopsis reads: "Miss Havisham soon offers Pip an opportunity that is too good to turn down: a bag of the finest opium, which he might sell for no less than £6.

"This is more than Pip can hope to make on his own, and more than enough to buy a suit of clothes to disguise the blacksmith's boy behind finery and in imitation of the gentleman he might yet become."

Great Expectations continues on Sunday at 9pm on BBCLink One.

2023-04-01T09:59:37Z dg43tfdfdgfd