New Disney Plus drama, The Artful Dodger, is an inventive reimagining of iconic Oliver Twist character Jack Dawkins and what happened after the well-known tale.


The new series stars Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually) as Jack, also known as The Artful Dodger, who has taken his skills as a thief and used them in his career as a surgeon.

Of course, the tale of Oliver Twist, Fagin and the like has been the basis of countless adaptations over the years with films, stage productions, radio and TV series all adapting the tale for audiences.

Well, sat down to chat with the lead actor and asked Brodie-Sangster whether he re-watched any previous iterations of Oliver Twist to prepare for the role.

He said: “I wondered about doing that and then I didn’t. I loved the original film and I looked at some still images. Weirdly, I looked at some behind-the-scenes stuff but no, I realised quite quickly that I didn’t need to do that."

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He continued: "That film is quite ingrained in my head as a kid anyway and whatever I needed to pull on from that, I did but I didn’t ever actually find myself doing that."

Brodie-Sangster then admitted: "We were doing quite a different – it’s very, very different. It’s colourful, not really very Dickensian when you think about it. I wanted to focus on what was on the page, on the script, do them justice and not worry quite so much about the history because anyone that’s truly a Dickens fan and loves the books, it’s not that.

"It’s taken those characters and throwing them into a different setting, different pacing, different feel. The closest thing you’d get is probably some of Fagan’s dialogue [being] Dickensian.”

Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Jack Dawkins inspecting a coin in the light in The Artful Dodger.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Jack Dawkins in The Artful Dodger. Disney Plus

Over the years, the likes of Andy Serkis, Keira Knightley, Timothy Spall, Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley have all starred in various small and big screen adaptations of the well known Charles Dickens tale.

Well, this new series isn't set in England at all and actually transports us round the world to Australia, namely in the lively colony of Port Victory in the 1850s.

According to the synopsis: "Jack Dawkins is The Artful Dodger, whose fast, pickpocketing fingers have turned into the skilled hands of a surgeon. Dodger’s past returns to haunt him with the arrival of Fagin, luring him back into a world of crime.

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"A greater threat – to Dodger’s heart – is Lady Belle, the Governor’s daughter, determined to become the colony’s first female surgeon.

"From heists to life-and-death surgeries, to the harsh realities of the criminal world mingling with the middle ground and gentry. This is a tale of reinvention, betrayal, redemption, and love with a twist."

As we follow Brodie-Sangster's Jack, we come to see the double life he's leading as he crosses paths once again with Fagin, who is played by David Thewlis (Harry Potter, Fargo). The cast also includes Maia Mitchell (The Fosters) as Lady Belle Fox.

The Artful Dodger is coming to Disney Plus on Wednesday 17th January. Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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