Oliver Twist (2007 miniseries)

Oliver Twist is a 2007 British television adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1838 novel Oliver Twist, written by Sarah Phelps and directed by Coky Giedroyc. It consists of five episodes, broadcast on BBC One from 18 to 22 December 2007. It aired on PBS' Masterpiece Classic in the United States on 15 and 22 February 2009, in two ninety-minute installments.[1][2] In Australia, ABC1 also opted to air this series as a two-part special each Sunday at 8:30 pm from 20 December 2009.[3]

Oliver Twist
Based onOliver Twist
by Charles Dickens
Written bySarah Phelps
Directed byCoky Giedroyc
StarringWilliam Miller
Adam Arnold
Tom Hardy
Timothy Spall
Julian Rhind Tutt
Theme music composerMartin Phipps
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes5 (2 in the U.S.)
Executive producer(s)Kate Harwood
Rebecca Eaton
Producer(s)Sarah Brown
CinematographyMatt Gray
Running time180 minutes
Production company(s)WGBH productions for BBC
Original networkBBC One
Picture format16:9 1080i
Audio formatStereo
Original release18 December (2007-12-18) –
22 December 2007 (2007-12-22)


Filming took place in May 2007, with the scene at the workhouse where Oliver asks "Please Sir, I want some more" being filmed at The Historic Dockyard in Chatham.[4]


The adaptation makes several major alterations to the plot of the source material, which include both alterations of events as well as familial relationships.

Rose Maylie is living with Mr Brownlow, and she addresses him as "uncle", but explains that he is in fact her guardian who took her and her sister, Agnes, in when her mother died. Her sister has been missing for many years, and the search for her has been ongoing. Mr Brownlow is now a part of the overall family tree, since Edward Monks is made his grandchild. As in the book, Monks becomes aware that Oliver is his half-brother, born to the missing Agnes who had a relationship with his father, and seeks to end his life so that there is no competition to his inheritance. As a result, Oliver is ultimately revealed to be Mr Brownlow's grandchild, in addition to being Rose's nephew and Monks' half-brother, as in the novel. Unlike the book, however, Monks is not an unattractive, nervous and cowardly epileptic, but a scheming, manipulative and attractive cad seeking engagement to Rose, who clearly doesn't like him.

Nancy is even more of a mother figure to Oliver than in the original novel, the famous musical version or especially, the David Lean film version, in which she does not even express any concern at all for him until after she and Sikes bring him back to Fagin's. In the 2007 version, she is seen constantly looking after him and tending to his needs (she even kisses him tenderly at one point, stopping just short of telling the boy that she loves him).

When a gun was pointed at Sikes when he attempts to rob the house, he uses Oliver as a shield from the shots, injuring him. Oliver is taken back to Fagin's lair to recover, rather than being nursed back to health in the countryside by the Maylie family, as in the novel. It is Nancy's informing Rose, and a highly skeptical Mr Brownlow, of Oliver's whereabouts that results in her demise at the hands of Sikes. Her ghost continues to haunt him when he returns to London with Oliver, resulting in him choosing to hang himself in the sewers as a means of escaping the London crowds who chase him.

Meanwhile, Monks' murderous motive is discovered by Mr Brownlow and Rose; he is disowned and sent to the West Indies, and Oliver, escaping the clutches of the crazed Sikes, returns to the Brownlow household, and is welcomed. It is the Artful Dodger, rather than Oliver, who visits the condemned Fagin in prison, and goes to his public execution. Sikes's dog finds Dodger and the two disappear into the crowds together. Fagin has genuine concern for Oliver in this version.


  • William Miller as Oliver Twist, on orphan with a deep desire to find out who his mother was
  • Timothy Spall as Fagin, a Jewish fence who looks after and mentors a gang of boy thieves
  • Edward Fox as Mr. Brownlow, a taciturn but kindly old gentleman who takes Oliver in
  • Adam Arnold as The Artful Dodger, Fagin's most adept pickpocket
  • Julian Rhind-Tutt as Monks, a.k.a. Edward Brownlow, Mr. Brownlow's grandson
  • Tom Hardy as Bill Sikes, a brutish career criminal.
  • Sophie Okonedo as Nancy, Bill's lover and a fellow criminal
  • Morven Christie as Rose Maylie
  • Gregor Fisher as Mr. Bumble, the parish beadle at Mudfog Workhouse
  • Sarah Lancashire as Mrs Corney, the matron of Mudfog Workhouse
  • Anna Massey as Mrs Bedwin, Mr Brownlow's housekeeper
  • Nicola Walker as Sally, a trustee of Mudfog Workhouse who was midwife at Oliver's birth
  • Rob Brydon as Mr Fang, a cruel magistrate
  • John Sessions as Mr Sowerberry, an undertaker
  • Michelle Gomez as Mrs Sowerberry, Mr Sowberberry's shrewish and hat-obsessed wife
  • Adam Gillen as Noah Claypole, an apprentice of Mr Sowerberry who bullies Oliver to assert his self-perceived superiority
  • Ruby Bentall as Charlotte, the Sowerberrys' maidservant
  • Vincent Franklin as Mr Limbkins, the head of the board of well-fed, hypocritical, upper-class administrators of the workhouse
  • Connor Catchpole as Pearly, a member of Fagin's gang of thieves and the Dodger's rival; named ironically on account of his bad teeth
  • Edward Tudor-Pole as Mr Slipsby
  • Callum Higgins as Spike, a member of Fagin's gang
  • Reece Dos-Santos as Stick, a member of Fagin's gang
  • Niall O'Mara as Handles, a member of Fagin's gang named for his big ears.
  • Peter Kirkham as a boy at the Mudfog Workhouse who serves with Oliver, who is beaten for desperately eating the oakum he is tasked with weaving due to the children of the workhouse being underfed


No Title Length Writer Director Airdate
1 "Episode 1" 60 minutes Sarah Phelps Coky Giedroyc 18 December 2007
2 "Episode 2" 30 minutes 19 December 2007
3 "Episode 3" 20 December 2007
4 "Episode 4" 21 December 2007
5 "Episode 5" 22 December 2007


Episode Viewers (millions)
1 7.82
2 5.67
3 6.10
4 6.34
5 8.17


  1. ^ All-star cast announced for BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist, BBC (25 July 2007)
  2. ^ Hemley, Matthew Drop the Dead Donkey duo creates new BBC1 comedy, The Stage (11 July 2007)
  3. ^ "ABC1 Programming Airdate: Oliver Twist (episode one)". ABC Television Publicity. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
  4. ^ Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Oliver Twist Film Focus".

External linksEdit