by Del Harvey
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Premiering Sunday, February 15 and 22, 2009, PBS’ Masterpiece Classic presents, as part of its series “The Tales Of Charles Dickens,” a new take on the much-beloved tale of orphan Oliver’s many trials and tribulations as he struggles to survive his life of poverty and misfortune.
This bold adaptation breathes new life into the Dickens story about the young orphan Oliver who is sent to the workhouse where children are raised on a diet of hard work and thin gruel. Starring Timothy Spall as Fagin the cutpurse king, Tom Hardy as Bill Sikes, Fagin’s accomplice and Sophie Okonedo as Nancy, Oliver’s guardian angel.
Originally produced in 2007, this will be the first airing of this version of the Dickens classic on these shores. With a slightly modern edge setting it apart from earlier incarnations, the case is led by newcomer William Miller as Oliver, who was orphaned in the countryside, sent to the workhouse, sold into servitude after his immortal appeal was uttered, “Please, sir, I want some more,” then was apprenticed to a sadistic coffin maker and forced to run for his life to the only safe place he could imagine; the den of delinquents, prostitutes, and murderers known as London.
This version also features the talents of Timothy Spall as Fagin, Adam Arnold as the Artful Dodger, Tom Hardy as Bill Sikes, Sophie Okonedo as Nancy, and Edward Fox as the patrician Mr. Brownlow.
Don’t miss this wonderful adaptation of Dickens’ classic tale. Airing Sundays, February 15 and 22. Check your local listings for showtimes.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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