Based on Charles Dickens' novel, this adaptation traces the childhood of an orphan whose mother dies giving birth to him in an English work-house in the 1820s. Little Oliver Twist, already ... See full summary »
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Based on Charles Dickens' novel, this adaptation traces the childhood of an orphan whose mother dies giving birth to him in an English work-house in the 1820s. Little Oliver Twist, already abused, starved and overworked, is apprenticed to an undertaker and runs away to London after being bullied by an older apprentice. There, he is taken in by Fagin, a fence and thief-trainer, and his gang of pickpockets. He is befriended by Nancy, a good-hearted prostitute, and meets her lover, the brutal housebreaker Bill Sikes. But attempts by the gang to discredit him result in his being taken in by Mr. Brownlow, a wealthy and charitable man, who proves the catalyst for Oliver's discovery of his background and identity. Here Alan Bleasdale's dramatisation differs from Dickens' novel, in that Oliver does not fall into Brownlow's hands by coincidence, and we already know his back story: he's the child of a young woman named Agnes Fleming and her married lover, Edwin Leeford, who dies while on a trip... Written by
Oliver Twist was on at the same time as another costume drama so we taped Oliver and the other one and also watched the other. It was dull, so the next week I watched Oliver Twist. I wish I had watched it from the start. It inspired me to read the book, although I wish I hadn't, I much prefer this version. The writer has changed much over it making it seem more vicious but more human as well. On the acting front it was hilarious, very nearly over the top and just right for a Dickens melodrama. The one character who I thought was fantastic was Monks, the actor who played him deserves a BAFTA or something. In the book he is a thoroughly nasty and boring character, in this he is nasty but interesting as well. I liked the way it looked, it was very grubby, and you could see why Oliver was liked by everybody, which was a bit different. The end episode is great and had me nearly in tears. A really good production.
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