Back on target, the period detail is excellent here with realistic looking sets and well tailored costumes. I for one liked the score, the opening sequence is wonderful, but there are also some dramatic, haunting and beautiful parts when it needed to be. The direction is good especially with Nancy's ghost, the scripting was above decent (I didn't notice any soapish qualities about it) and the pace was good. Dickens's book is insightful but complex in characterisation, particularly with Fagin, there are changes here but the storytelling was not that bad I thought. The acting is mostly very good, William Miller gives Oliver a fair amount of innocence while giving him some steel too. Sophie Okenedo is a subtle Nancy, Gregor Fisher is a suitably grotesque Mr Bumble, Edward Fox is a fine Mr Brownlow and Julian Rhind-Tutt is startling as Monks. The best characterisation though was Tom Hardy as Bill Sikes. Sikes is a turbulent, big, burly and violent man and not only did Hardy meet all of these brilliantly, his interpretation was also emotionally complex.
However, there were one or two disappointments. I may be the only one who was disappointed in Timothy Spall's Fagin. I have nothing personal against Spall, far from it, he is an exceptional actor, but Fagin is supposed to be in my opinion oily, vile and manipulative. Fagin here was more reminiscent of WormTail but with an accent and he was too passive. Away from the casting, the other flaw was the length, having been timed during the Christmas season the later part of the dramatisation felt rather stretched.
Overall, this is a good dramatisation, not outstanding but worth the look. 8/10 Bethany Cox