Based on Charles Dickens' novel, this adaptation traces the childhood of an orphan whose mother dies giving birth to him in an English work-house in the 1820s. Little Oliver Twist, already abused, starved and overworked, is apprenticed to an undertaker and runs away to London after being bullied by an older apprentice. There, he is taken in by Fagin, a fence and thief-trainer, and his gang of pickpockets. He is befriended by Nancy, a good-hearted prostitute, and meets her lover, the brutal housebreaker Bill Sikes. But attempts by the gang to discredit him result in his being taken in by Mr. Brownlow, a wealthy and charitable man, who proves the catalyst for Oliver's discovery of his background and identity. Here Alan Bleasdale's dramatisation differs from Dickens' novel, in that Oliver does not fall into Brownlow's hands by coincidence, and we already know his back story: he's the child of a young woman named Agnes Fleming and her married lover, Edwin Leeford, who dies while on a trip...Written by
The version which ran on ITV in England and CBC in Canada in late 1999 consisted of four two-hour episodes with commercials; the video for sale in the UK runs 386 minutes. When PBS ran the series on Masterpiece Theater in October 2000, it consisted of three two-hour episodes without commercials; the video available in North America runs 360 minutes. See more »
I understood that Mr. Bleasdale was a Dickens' director when, in GBH (1991), I saw an news hound being gored with the point of a gamp while he was peering through the slot of a letter box.
Here In Australia, where, according to the Leeford succubus, our natives are too plucky, we have only seen the first episode, and I should just like to agree with Mr. Underwood and the mysterious Dennis-77 that Mark Warren's performance as the scorbutic Edwin Leeford is exceptionally fine.
Apart from James Whale's Borris Karlof make up, it is a flawless piece of comic acting.
Thank you England for sending us Uriah Heap, Mr. Micawber, Abel Magwitch and Mark Warren.
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