The three-part miniseries is a BBC/PBS Masterpiece co-production, and filming's slated to start in London in July. Producers describe it as "Part thriller, part mystery, with a powerful love story at its heart and Dickens' trademark wit and characterisation throughout.
Winstone will play the pivotal character of Abel Magwitch: "'Great Expectations' is my favourite novel, and I'm thrilled to be playing Magwitch. I've wanted to play him for ages ... and I can't wait to get stuck in."
'Great Expectations' has been adapted for TV and movies several times before, and over the years Magwitch has been played by such actors as Bernard Hill ('The Lord of the Rings'), Anthony Hopkins and James Mason. This production will form part of the celebrations in 2012 surrounding the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth.
Writer Sarah Phelps described it as "an epic story about obsession, corruption, revenge, redemption and forgiveness. It is dark and complex, with the shadow of the gallows always present, but beating throughout is the passionate human heart. Ultimately it is a story of what we will do, what we will risk and just how far we will go for love."
Winstone will be joined by Douglas Booth ('The Pillars of the Earth') as the story's young hero, Pip. Further casting details are due to be announced shortly.