Oliver Twist (1999)

TV Mini-Series  -   -  Drama
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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 ... See full summary »

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Title: Oliver Twist (1999– )

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1999  
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Mrs Bedwin (4 episodes, 1999)
...
 Monks (4 episodes, 1999)
...
 Mr Brownlow (4 episodes, 1999)
...
 Elizabeth Leeford (4 episodes, 1999)
...
 Mrs. Mann (4 episodes, 1999)
David Ross ...
 Mr Bumble (4 episodes, 1999)
Sam Smith ...
 Oliver Twist (3 episodes, 1999)
John Grillo ...
 Mr Grimwig (3 episodes, 1999)
...
 Young Rose Fleming (3 episodes, 1999)
...
 Nancy (3 episodes, 1999)
...
 Fagin (3 episodes, 1999)
...
 Bill Sikes (3 episodes, 1999)
Alex Crowley ...
 Artful Dodger (3 episodes, 1999)
...
 Rose Fleming (3 episodes, 1999)
...
 Bet (3 episodes, 1999)
...
 Charley Bates (3 episodes, 1999)
Liz Smith ...
 Sally (2 episodes, 1999)
Sarah Flind ...
 Homely Maid (2 episodes, 1999)
...
 Mr Fleming / ... (2 episodes, 1999)
...
 Giles (2 episodes, 1999)
Morgan Jones ...
 Brittles (2 episodes, 1999)
...
 Agnes Fleming (2 episodes, 1999)
David Bark-Jones ...
 Dr. Losberne (2 episodes, 1999)
Laura Grace Cockroft ...
 Chertsey Maid (2 episodes, 1999)
...
 Edwin Leeford (2 episodes, 1999)
Rosalind March ...
 Mrs Corney / ... (2 episodes, 1999)
Iain Robertson ...
 Woodcroft (2 episodes, 1999)
...
 Mr Sowerberry / ... (2 episodes, 1999)
Calum MacPherson ...
 Blacksmith Bignall (2 episodes, 1999)
Alan Pentony ...
 Pedlar (2 episodes, 1999)
Hilary Sesta ...
 Martha, Female Pauper (2 episodes, 1999)
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Storyline

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 G.M. Baxter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

8 October 2000 (USA)  »

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(4 parts)

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The very flowery wording in the episode titles is based on the language which Charles Dickens used for the chapter titles in his original novel "Oliver Twist". See more »

Quotes

Brittles: What happens if we see someone?
Giles: We shoot them.
Brittles: What happens if we know 'em?
Giles: Depends on whether we like them or not.
Chertsey Cook: Giles! Brittles!
[Brittles fires a shot and startles the cook]
Chertsey Cook: Was that you Brittles?
Giles: You, you've just tried to shoot cook!
Brittles: I know. But I don't like cook she picks on me.
See more »

Connections

Version of Oliver Twist (1933) See more »

Soundtracks

Fantasia for Piano 4 Hands in F Minor
Music by Franz Schubert
Played onscreen by Michael Kitchen
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is a truly inspired version of the classic Dickens story.
15 March 2000 | by (Oxfordshire, England) – See all my reviews

This is a truly inspired version of the classic Dickens story.

Alan Bleasdale has devised an explanation of the events which lead up to Oliver's mother arriving at the workhouse, and fleshes out minor characters such as Monks and Mrs Leeford.

Some characters stand out:

  • Fagin is mesmerising when played as part-villain and part-magician: the


final scenes in the condemned cell are powerful as well as surprisingly moving, even if some of Robert Lindsay's nervous tics are rather too reminiscent of his portrayal of Michael Murray in GBH!

  • Michael Kitchen makes a perfect Mr Brownlow: his rather pompous


Oxford-English accent is exactly as I imagined Mr Brownlow having read the novel.

  • Andy Serkis is superbly cast as Bill Sikes - I cannot imagine a more


terrifying and brutal portrayal.

  • Marc Warren's portrayal of Monks makes this rather shadowy character


come alive in a way that Dickens' description never could, even if the double-act between the domineering Mrs Leeford and the inept and epileptic Monks is comical and farcical at times.

A few minor details have been altered: the "crib at Chertsey", owned by Mrs Maylie and her daughter Rose, becomes Mr Brownlow's country residence, and Rose Maylie becomes Rose Fleming, Oliver Twist's aunt. However (in my opinion) these changes serve to bring together several unrelated threads of the novel and actually improve the story.


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