Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, February 16, 2009

Dickens Fest '09 begins with Oliver Twist on PBS

PBS has already launched a new round of Masterpiece Classic(hosted by Laura Linney)but last night started their latest author centered series," The Tales of Charles Dickens" with a 2007 BBC production of Oliver Twist.

William Miller is very well cast as Oliver,both for his acting abilities and that little innocent face of his. He manages to make such a good hearted boy(despite all of the terrible people,places and things in his life)realistic without coming across as a goody two-shoes ,or no shoes,in this case.

The whole production has a lively quirkiness to it,from the cast to the background music and the settings that showcase the harsh gritty world of poverty and crime that Oliver seeks his way out of. The energy of the piece gives the story a fresh face and even the opening credits are exciting to watch:

The infamous role of Fagin is played by Timothy Spall,a man who seems born to be a Dickensian character. Known to most as Peter Pettigrew,aka Worm Tail,from the Harry Potter films(he also did a nicely wicked turn in Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd),Spall brings a theatrical tone to the character that is not overdone and highlights his wicked warmhearted nature.

Spall is a major Dickens fan and his flair for eccentric characters fits neatly into this miniseries like a well matched puzzle piece:

Other notable performances include Adam Arnold as the Artful Dodger,Anna Massey as Mrs. Bedwin,Edward Fox as Mr. Brownlow and Sophie Okonedo as Nancy. Tom Hardy gives a charming sinister vibe to Bill Sikes,one of the more dangerous men of Dickens' roster of rogues that you definately wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley late at night.

Part Two of this series will be shown next Sunday and fortunately the PBS website does allow folks to watch episodes online after the show airs. Since the Academy Awards will also be on that evening,that's how I'll be seeing the conclusion. Part One is now available until March 1st,so you can catch up to it if Oscar Night is not your Must See TV.

The Tales of Charles Dickens series will run through to May,with a re-airing of David Copperfield that stars a pre-Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe(plus Maggie Smith as a just as formidable feminine force for good,sans magic),a five part production of Little Dorrit with Matthew McFadyen and a new version of The Old Curiosity Shop that has Derek Jacobi at the helm. This should be a good way to introduce folks into the realm of Dickens as well as entertain readers right into spring:


DesLily said...

oh nice!.. I own the bbc copy of david copperfield and watched it not long ago.. it's excellent!.. since i recently read the Old Curiosity Shop i will be interested in that one for sure.

Ladytink_534 said...

I honestly don't think I've ever seen a Dicken's movie besides adaptations of A Christmas Carol. I plan on sitting down and reading the original Oliver Twist soon so I'm looking forward to seeing this.