Oliver Twist (2007 miniseries)

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Oliver Twist
Based on Oliver Twist 
by Charles Dickens
Written by Sarah Phelps
Directed by Coky Giedroyc
Starring William Miller
Adam Arnold
Tom Hardy
Timothy Spall
Julian Rhind Tutt
Theme music composer Martin Phipps
Country of origin UK
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 5 (2 in the U.S.)
Producer(s) Sarah Brown
Cinematography Matt Gray
Running time 180 minutes
Original network BBC1
Original release 2007

Oliver Twist is a 2007 British television adaptation of Charles Dickens' 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]


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.



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


External links[edit]