This seven-hour Masterpiece Theater adaptation of the popular Charles Dickens novel offers an engrossing expansion of one of fiction’s most beloved characters. The production introduces the regrettable circumstances of Oliver’s mother Agnes Fleming (Sophia Miles), a faithful middle-class girl seduced by her father’s respectable but wishy-washy business protege Edwin Leeford (Tim Dutton). Edwin intends to marry Agnes, but not before getting rid of the skeleton in his closet. He’s already married to a despicable older woman; an arranged match forced on him to satisfy both families' financial ambitions. The marriage dissolves in acrimony and they part ways, his wife Elizabeth (Lindsay Duncan) taking custody of their deranged son Edward (Marc Warren) with the promise of an annual stipend from her husband. Now Edwin has found true love and a chance to permanently shake off his regrettable past. He’s received an inheritance from a distant relative and hopes to divorce his wife by paying her off once and for all. But the conniving Elizabeth has other plans and won’t settle for Edwin’s meager offer: she’s his lawful wife and wants the entire fortune for herself. She enlists her dim-witted son to carry out an evil plot and poor Agnes is left without a father for her unborn son. Here the story returns to the familiar and Oliver (Sam Smith III) winds up in Fagan’s (Robert Lindsay II) clutches amidst the lowlife underworld of Victorian London. The colorful characters of Bill Sikes, Nancy and the Artful Dodger (Andy Serkis, Emily Woof, Alex Crowley) enter the story, and the new prologue provides added intrigue. Oliver is heir to his unknown father’s estate—Edwin had taken careful precautions in his will, stipulating the fortune will go to his second child if his first son Edward doesn’t prove morally upstanding. The wanton gang of hoodlums conspire to claim the fortune, and their nefarious escapades bring a refreshing twist to Oliver’s classic tale.
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1999
- Rating: NR
- Review: This seven-hour Masterpiece Theater adaptation of the popular Charles Dickens novel offers an engrossing expansion of one of fiction’s most beloved characters. The production introduces the regrettable circumstances of Oliver’s mother Agnes Fleming (Sophia… (more)