Last season Masterpiece Classic gave us The Complete Jane Austen and our world was all propriety, parlor room drama and romance. Life was good. Our happily-ever-after was complete. That was before the economic downfall.
How appropriate that PBS has turned its tenor to the darker side of life with The Tale of Charles Dickens, four new adaptations of the Victorian author's famous works. Beginning the season will be a new production of Oliver Twist, a bleak look at the economic woes of early Victorian England that could soon match our own spirits. How timely of them to know so far in advance that this classic story would mirror our own troubles. It’s not all doom and gloom though. The famous story of the young orphan Oliver Twist is as compelling as ever and the cast shines. Here’s a look at a few of the major male players.
Eleven year old William Miller (Oliver Twist) beat out 700 other Oliver hopefuls to win the part of classic literatures most endearing waif. The son of actress Janine Wood and director Sam Miller, he is a relative newcomer to acting and if given a choice he is uncertain about continuing, preferring football. What young boy would not?
Timothy Spall (Fagin) is a self professed Dickens fan and a regular on Masterpiece Classics as of late featuring in last seasons A Room With (2008) and Nicholas Nickleby (2002). He may be most recognizable in his role as Peter Pettigrew in the Harry Potter films. Watch an online interview of Timothy Spall about his interpretation of Fagin for a modern audience.
Tom Hardy (Bill Sikes) returns to Masterpiece after portraying Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights last month and in The Virgin Queen (2005). Some of Hardy’s other films include Band of Brothers (2001), Marie Antoinette (2006) and Sweeney Todd (2006). Playing the sinister Bill Sikes should be an easy role for him and fun for us to watch.
Check out the Oliver Twist website at Masterpiece Classics and sign up for a free drawing for a copy of the book. Be sure to tune in this Sunday February 15th at 9:00 pm (check your local listing) and concluding on the 22nd.
Cheers, Laurel Ann, Austenprose