In a storm, in a workhouse, to a nameless woman, young Oliver Twist is born into parish care where he's overworked and underfed. As he grows older his adventures take him from the ... See full summary »

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Complete series cast summary:
Ben Rodska ...
 Oliver Twist (11 episodes, 1985)
Eric Porter ...
 Fagin (10 episodes, 1985)
Michael Attwell ...
 Bill Sikes (9 episodes, 1985)
Pip Donaghy ...
 Monks (9 episodes, 1985)
Amanda Harris ...
 Nancy (8 episodes, 1985)
Nicholas Bond-Owen ...
 Charley Bates (8 episodes, 1985)
Godfrey James ...
 Mr. Bumble (7 episodes, 1985)
 Rose Maylie / ... (7 episodes, 1985)
David King ...
 Giles (7 episodes, 1985)
David Garlick ...
 The Artful Dodger (7 episodes, 1985)
 Mr. Brownlow (6 episodes, 1985)
Gillian Martell ...
 Mrs. Maylie (6 episodes, 1985)
 Barney (6 episodes, 1985)
 Mrs. Bumble / ... (5 episodes, 1985)
Edward Burnham ...
 Mr. Grimwig (5 episodes, 1985)
 Noah Claypole (5 episodes, 1985)


In a storm, in a workhouse, to a nameless woman, young Oliver Twist is born into parish care where he's overworked and underfed. As he grows older his adventures take him from the countryside to London, through harsh treatment, kindness, an undertaker, and a thieves' dens, where he makes friends and enemies. But all the time he is pursued by the mysterious Monks, who hires Fagin to turn Oliver into a thief. Oliver is rescued by chance and kind friends. But it's a puzzle of legitimacy, inheritance, and identity that Oliver's friends must attempt to unravel before Monks can destroy Oliver. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

13 October 1985 (UK)  »

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Technical Specs


(12 episodes)


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Did You Know?


Of the 30 or so filmed versions of the same Charles Dickens novel (excluding indirect adaptations and parodies such as Oliver & Company (1988)), this is considered the most complete and accurate adaptation, as it manages to depict almost all of the characters and incidents from the book. See more »


Version of Oliver Twist (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Worthy but dull
14 May 2016 | by See all my reviews

This version keeps a lot more of the novel than most, but most of this material lacking in other versions covers the Maylie sub-plot, which is mawkish and conventional Victoriana.

Many reviewers have commented that the series does not stint on the squalor of Hanoverian London (the action takes place in pre-Victorian times). I actually disagree and feel that it sanitizes things. Reviewers write of the "cramped" rooms when I thought they were were more spacious than many a million pound flat in today's London.

The direction, camera-work and score were plodding TV quality only, and the actors in some parts unsubtle. Bill Sykes looked the part, and for once you could see why Nancy might have been attracted to him, but his acting skills were one-dimensional. I liked Eric Porter's Fagin. It was based on the Guinness version, but without the anti-semitic element which is embarrassing in the earlier movie.

Too many of the children's roles suggested middle-class kids from drama school.

I give the makers credit for faithfulness and not attempting smart-ass interpolations or anachronistic social comment, and maybe enjoyment would be enhanced by watching in the original 12 half-hour episodes, but viewing it purely as a "movie" it is fairly dull, especially compared to David Lean's masterpiece. Sharper editing would help to speed things along.

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