This compelling drama-documentary uncovers the secret life of one of England's favourite authors and his affair with a young actress, Nelly Ternan. In 1857, Charles Dickens was probably the most famous and beloved Englishman alive - a cross between J.K. Rowling and Princess Diana. Not only was he the bestselling English author of his time and a driven social reformer, but he almost singlehandedly created the Victorian concept of happy and devoted family life. In reality however, he had abandoned his wife and was in the midst of a torrid and desperately secret affair with Nelly Ternan, an actress young enough to be his daughter. It would change his artistic outlook as well as his life. Charles Dance presents a dramatic investigation into the secret life - and love - of Charles Dickens, aided by Professor Kathryn Hughes, Professor John Bowen, Professor John Carey, Peter Ackroyd and direct descendant Lucinda Dickens Hawksley, in a revelation-filled look at the man behind the man we know as Charles Dickens.