All-star cast announced for BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist
Rob Brydon, Gregor Fisher, Edward Fox, Tom Hardy, Sarah Lancashire, Sophie Okonedo, Julian Rhind-Tutt, John Sessions and Timothy Spall star in the BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist.
Following the huge success of the BBC's production of Bleak House, BBC Drama Production is set to breathe new life into Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens's much-loved novel.
Sarah Phelps (EastEnders), one of Britain's most dynamic television writers, is to adapt the gripping story for BBC One.
Oliver's (William Miller) life starts inauspiciously. The son of an unmarried mother, who dies shortly after his birth, Oliver's closest family are the workhouse board, and their plans for Oliver's future does not stretch much beyond starving him to death with pitiful rations of gruel.
But Oliver's a fighter, and after a courageous rebellion when he dares to ask for more, Oliver is cast out and forced to make his own way in the world.
On arriving in London, he meets The Artful Dodger (Adam Arnold), and is drawn into the dark and murky underworld of Fagin (Timothy Spall) and his gang.
Thrilling adventures involving the brutal Sikes (Tom Hardy), his beautiful Nancy (Sophie Okonedo), and the mysterious Mr Monks (Julian Rhind-Tutt) bring Oliver perilously close to death but hope appears in the form of Mr Brownlow (Edward Fox) a generous benefactor with links to Oliver's past.
Kate Harwood, BBC Head of Drama Series & Serial, says: "BBC Drama Production is thrilled to be bringing to the screen Sarah Phelps's bold adaptation of Oliver Twist.
"Directed by Coky Giedroyc with a great cast line-up, this production will have a modern edge; a darkly thrilling, joyous treat for the viewers later this year."
Cast list also includes: Rob Brydon as Mr Fang; Gregor Fisher as Mr Bumble and Sarah Lancashire as Mrs Corney.
Anna Massey plays Mrs Bedwin, Mr Brownlow's trusted housekeeper; John Sessions is Mr Sowerberry, the undertaker; Michelle Gomez plays his wife, a woman with a penchant for hats; Morven Christie is Rose; and Nicola Walker is Sally.
The infamous Artful Dodger is played by newcomer Adam Arnold and William Miller is cast in his first major lead role as Oliver Twist.
"Oliver Twist is a five-part serial which is dark and edgy, dangerous and urgent, tragic and pretty frightening in places but there is comedy in it too," adds Sarah Phelps.
"This is a fresh take on a much loved and familiar favourite but it remains true to the spirit of the book."
Filming in and around London from July, Oliver Twist is produced by Sarah Brown. The executive producer is Kate Harwood and director Coky Giedroyc.
Oliver Twist is commissioned by Jane Tranter, BBC Controller, Drama Fiction.