ondon; the 1820s. Amy Dorrit was born in the Marshalsea, a debtors' prison, where her father has been incarcerated for so long he dines out on the fact,regarding himself as a local celebrity. She has just got a job as a seamstress to Mrs. Clennam, a widowed invalid and a ruthless businesswoman who lives in a crumbling town house with her sinister butler Flintwinch and his nervous wife Affery. Arthur Clennam, her son, is returning home after nine years working for the family firm in China. In France he meets a solitary Englishwoman Miss Wade and the retired couple, Mr. and Mrs. Meagles, who have gone abroad to take their spoilt daughter Pet's mind off the unsuitable boyfriend Henry Gowan. They also have an adopted daughter Tattycoram, whom they patronize, and Miss Wade is drawn to her as a kindred spirit. On his return to London Arthur cannot understand why his usually uncharitable mother has engaged Amy and recalls his father's dying words to 'put it right'. He assumes that his family is responsible for the Dorrits' misfortunes and visits Amy's father at the Marshalsea to the annoyance of the jailer's son John Chivery, who worships Amy. Locked in the prison overnight Arthur meets Amy's irresponsible brother 'Tip', another debtor, and Amy's sister Fanny and uncle who are music-hall artists who are visiting. Meanwhile, in France, Rigaud, a murderous French man, and his timid cell-mate, the Italian Cavaletto, are separately released from jail. And Miss Wade surprises Tattycoram, who is in a rage at her adopted parents, by calling on her.At night Affery is taken aback to see Flintwinch, who has just burnt some papers at his mistress's request, entertaining his twin brother.

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