March 28, 1988 12:00 PM

PBS (Sun., March 27, 9 p.m., ET)

Ah, the fanfare of familiar trumpets. Close-ups of leatherbound novels and silver-framed photos. Ah, the sound of Alistair Cooke’s mellifluous voice. We’re back in Masterpiece Theatre land, safe, pampered, deliciously entertained. This five-part adaptation of Charles Dickens’ eighth and most popular novel features a colorful carousel of personalities, splendidly realized by a highly competent, though not well-known, British cast. Because of the show’s episodic length, we get to revel in the quirks of some of literature’s favorite characters, including Aunt Betsey Trotwood (Brenda Bruce), Uriah Heep (Paul Brightwell), Mr. Micawber (Simon Callow) and the earnest lad himself, David Copperfield (Colin Hurley). Despite the ensemble acting, special kudos must go to Alison Fiske in the small role of the bitter, facially scarred Rosa Dartle. Sound the trumpets!

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