IT'S very well known that I'm a sucker for a good BBC miniseries, and so I was very excited to watch Oliver Twist last Sunday, because I'm always up for some Dickens. What I like most about modern interpretations of Dickens is that they tone down some of the sentimentality of his work and really tease out the weighty issues of the text.
Now, first things first, this adaptation aired in 2007 on the BBC, and it's pretty disgusting that we're getting it at the end of 2009. But whatever. We are, after all, living on the bottom of the world. XD
I certainly wasn't disappointed with this new adaptation.
The cast is good, the script well done, and in general it was thoroughly enjoyable. William Miller was good as Oliver Twist, and Timothy Spall as Fagin was very good, he made me feel a certain amount of pity for the character, as I did when I read the book. Monks was wonderfully creepy; I think Julian Rhind-Tutt is pretty good at playing a villain. Tom Hardy as Sikes was brilliant; he was very creepy and threatening and certainly looks much better than he did in Wuthering Heights. He was probably my favourite, simply for the fact that he was so loathsome.
At times I thought the writers changed things around in such a way as to make me wonder how they're going to get out of the hole they've dug for themselves. Rose living with Mr Brownlow, for example, and Monks being related to him. I liked the fact they sent Rose out onto the bad streets of London to search for Oliver; she's one of those overly 'good' characters I can't stand, and giving her a bit more pluck and courage made me like her a little more.
The scenery was excellent, as well, and the contrasts between the London streets where the thieves live and the Brownlow's house really bring out the differences in lifestyle which were such a big problem in Dickens' time.
All in all, I enjoyed watching the first part of Oliver Twist and can't wait to watch the conclusion next week.