Armando Iannucci recently said that the UK falls behind the US  when it comes to female comedy writers. Do you find it to be a male-dominated industry?

Brooding: Matthew Rhys (John Jasper), Tamzin Merchant (Rosa Bud) and Freddie Fox as Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, BBC2, Tuesday and Wednesday
Coppers, Channel 4, Monday
Borgen, BBC4, Saturday

Screenwriter Gwyneth Hughes makes the most of her licence to finish Dickens's last book

Last night's viewing - The Mystery of Edwin Drood, BBC2; Arena: Dickens on Film BBC4

According to Arena: Dickens on Film, one source of the author's appeal to film-makers was his "constellation of unforgettable grotesques". They are, the narrator continued, "characters every actor wants to play, characters impossible to overact". To which one might reply that while the first clause might be true, the second certainly isn't, and that grotesquery can be one of Dickens' besetting problems on screen. Adaptations of his work often run into trouble with the Dickensian, that caricature view of the writing that you can see in the original illustrations (which, like film or television, necessarily favour the concrete facts of the prose over its flavour). The Mystery of Edwin Drood has one big advantage in this respect, which is that it isn't terribly well known. When he plays John Jasper, Matthew Rhys isn't taking on a distinguished line of predecessors (as anybody playing Micawber would be) and very few of us at home will be waiting to see whether a beloved scene is correctly done.

Odd man out: Matthew Rhys, Tamzin Merchant and Freddie Fox star in 'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'

Edwin Drood: The mysterious appeal of Dickens' darkest tale

Gwyneth Hughes explains how she adapted a great literary whodunit for TV

Make a booking with the literary lions at The Independent Bath Literature Festival

William Boyd makes his first literary appearance this year at The Independent Bath Literature Festival to discuss his new novel. Waiting for Sunrise is about a young English actor, whose destructive love affair begins in a psychiatrist's waiting room.

Just like a scene from the movies . . .

Blockbuster movies part-filmed in the UK are expected to boost "location vacation" tourism in 2012. Castle Combe, in Wiltshire, prominent in Steven Spielberg's War Horse, and Layer Marney Tower near Colchester, used in The Woman in Black, are two locations hoping for a boom in visitors.

February 7 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of Charles Dickens' birth

What the Dickens? Try our literary quiz

Know your Nickleby from your Nell? How many questions can you answer about one of English literature's greatest figures? Katy Guest, Emily Dugan and Matthew Bell set the challenge

Becoming Dickens, By Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Harvard, £20

Last Night's viewing: Great Expectations, BBC1, Fast Freddie, the Widow and Me, ITV1

I wasn't entirely sure what it was that I was missing from Sarah Phelps's adaptation of Great Expectations until we got to Herbert Pocket. Herbert, you may remember, is the young man Pip encounters at Satis House one day when visiting Miss Havisham and Estella. Herbert challenges Pip to a fight, in a "manner at once light-hearted, business-like, and bloodthirsty".

Absolutely Fabulous, 10pm, BBC1

The pick of Christmas television: How to make the most of your holiday viewing

It's not just the return of Edina and Patsy – there's Downton, the Doctor, and Dickens. Gerard Gilbert presents his pick of the seasonal small screen

<p>High spirits: 'Conviviality at Bob Sawyer's: Three Men Enjoying a Drink' (c1836) by Phiz from 'The Pickwick Papers' </p>

Dickens: Nightmare before Christmas

Charles Dickens was driven by demons when he wrote his much-loved yuletide tales. Award-winning author Justin Cartwright feels the pain

Stocking Fillers: Grate cheese. Pause. Grill cheese. Pause

Christmas books of the year

Dublin Carol, Trafalgar Studios 2, London (3/5)

The straggling Christmas decorations look more than a little half-hearted (mostly bare spruce), but then the setting of Conor McPherson's play, first seen in 2000, is an undertaker's office and it would be tactless to the bereaved to put on a flashier show.

You Can't Take it With You, Royal Exchange, Manchester (5/5)

Frank Capra's classic film It's a Wonderful Life has become as established  a landmark in the modern Christmas landscape as Dickens's story of Scrooge did in post-Victorian times.

<p>From the porcelain bowl plopped a 'rather splendid' pudding with a 'nice matt surface' in mid-tan brown. The tasting panel liked its 'firm texture' with 'plenty of fruit and nuts' and the pleasingly 'restrained sweetness'. 'It stays together and you can really taste the fruit.' Unfortunately, it was 'not very spicy' though the label lists mixed spice, cinnamon and nutmeg. The replacement of beef suet by palm oil (somewhere between 4-7 per cent) in this 'traditional pudding' makes it 'suitable for vegetarians'. £15.99 (600g)</p>

The pud, the bad and the ugly: 15 Christmas puddings are put to the taste test

It completes the Yuletide blow-out. But with so many Christmas puddings to choose from, Christopher Hirst sorts the stupendous from the stodge

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