Oliver Twist (William Miller) © BBC Photo Library
Directed By: Coky Giedroyc
Produced By: Kate Harwood, Sarah Brown & Coky Giedroyc
Written By: Charles Dickens (Novel) & Sarah Phelps (Adaptation)
Starring: Timothy Spall, William Miller, Adam Arnold, Tom Hardy, Sophie Okenedo, Rob Brydon
Production Company: BBC, WGBH
Kent Filming Locations: The Historic Dockyard Chatham
In the latest adaptation of Dickens’ Classic tale, the story of young orphan Oliver Twist is faithfully recreated by the BBC whilst delivering a modern and thrilling edge that is sure to entice audiences.
After the death of his mother, Oliver Twist (William Miller) is thrown into poverty and misfortune. Left to the mercy of the workhouse, he is routinely tormented with cruelty and starvation by the local Beadle, Mr. Bumble, and the workhouse employees. When daring to ask for more food, Oliver is famously cast out of the orphanage and must make his own way in the world.
After narrowly escaping the clutches of his new guardians, owners of a local funeral parlor, Oliver walks the many miles to London. On arriving in the city he is found by the Artful Dodger (Adam Arnold), a pickpocket and the most senior of Fagin’s (Timothy Spall) gang. Experiencing kindness for the first time in the form of the beautiful Nancy (Sophie Okenado), girlfriend to the villainous Bill Sykes (Tom Hardy), Oliver is soon drawn in to the darker and seedier side of life in Victorian London.
Oliver Twist (Otherwise known as The Parish Boy’s Progress) is the second novel of renowned author Charles Dickens. Noted for its unromantic portrayal of criminals in London, the novel exposed the cruel treatment of children during the time. The novel has been the subject for many adaptations on stage and screen, the most famous being Carol Reed’s musical Oliver! starring Ron Moody as Fagin and Oliver Reed as Bill Sykes.
Directed by Coky Giedroyc (Carrie’s War, Stella Does Tricks) and adapted by Sarah Phelps (EastEnders, The Casual Vacancy), starring Timothy Spall (The King’s Speech, Mr. Turner), William Miller (Runaway, The Kid), Adam Arnold (Hibernation, The Bill), Tom Hardy (Inception, Locke), Sophie Okenedo (After Earth, Hotel Rwanda) and Rob Brydon (Black Books, Gavin & Stacey)
Kent welcomed the production when it was filmed in 2007 to The Historic Dockyard Chatham which was the location used to shoot one of the most famous lines of Dickens’ literary history “Please Sir, I want some more”. The Tarred Yarn Store at The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a Grade II listed building and was used to recreate the famous workhouse scene in the film.
The Historic Dockyard Chatham is a popular film location, having previously welcomed productions such as The Golden Compass (2007), The Mummy (1999) and The World Is Not Enough (1999).
Charles Dickens’ father, who was the inspiration for the character of Mr Micawber in David Copperfield, worked at The Historic Dockyard Chatham as a clerk in the Naval Pay Office from 1817 to 1822. The young Dickens would often accompany his father on trips downriver from Chatham to Sheerness on the Naval Pay Yacht “Chatham”. This inspired Dickens and instilled in him a love for the sea and rivers which would later feature in some of his novels.
First shown in 2007 in five episodes on BBC1, this adaptation is now available on DVD.
For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.