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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(12 episodes)


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Did You Know?


From the newspaper date seen in Oliver Twist: Episode #1.5 (1985), and other signs and inscriptions throughout, it is established that the bulk of the story takes place in 1835 and 1836, ending the year before the novel started serialization. This also explains the scattered references to the King rather than the Queen who is more commonly acknowledged in Charles Dickens works. The King is William IV, who died in 1837 and was succeeded by his niece Queen Victoria, who began the Victorian age which lasted for the majority of the 19th century. England would not have a king again until the accession of King Edward VII in 1901. See more »


Version of Boy Called Twist (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Really excellent adaptation of a Dickens classic
12 September 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Oliver Twist is one of Charles Dickens' most famous books and also one of his best. This adaptation is excellent, like most of the 70s-80s BBC Dickens serial adaptations, and ranks along with the 1948 David Lean film and the 1999 mini-series as one of the best adaptations of Oliver Twist as well as the most faithful. If there was anything that wasn't quite right(personal opinion of course) it was that Rose and Nancy could have been more affectionate with Oliver. Other than that, this is Dickens as it should be done. The costumes and sets are sumptuous as well as richly detailed, you can literally smell the grimy seediness which goes to show how strong the atmosphere is. The adaptation is also shot with natural skill and intricacy. The music is simple yet haunting, while the dialogue is very Dickenesian in spirit and thoughtfully written. The story is adapted faithfully, with Oliver being with Mr Sowerberry for five years and Monks being introduced earlier being the only really glaring liberties, and is told compellingly. Even with the long length and deliberate pacing, the adaptation never did feel tedious. The acting carries the production beautifully, Scott Funnell is an adorable younger Oliver, making an impression even when in just two of the twelve episodes, while Ben Rodska carries the rest of the adaptation in the same role- but older- with innocence and steel without falling into the sickly sweet category. Eric Porter's Fagin is wonderfully oily, vile and manipulative while Michael Attwell's Bill Sykes is both frightening and tormented. Amanda Harris is a vulnerable and sympathetic Nancy, and there's also the likable Rose Maylie of Lysette Anthony, Pip Donaghy's startling Monks and David Garlick's rascally Artful Dodger. There are fewer Mr Bumbles crueller and more grotesque than that of Godfrey James, Frank Middlemass is a kind and noble Mr Brownlow and Miriam Margoyles, Julian Firth and Gillian Martel also handle their roles adeptly. Overall, really excellent and will please any Dickens or literary fans. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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