Christopher Eccleston will play the iconic role of Fagin in a new take on Charles Dickens’ beloved characters, which is on its way to CBBC and BBC iPlayer.
Created and written by Emmy winner Rhys Thomas (The Kemps: All True), the show will follow infamous pickpocket the Artful Dodger and the rest of Fagin’s gang, as they attempt to survive on the streets of Victorian London.
Billy Jenkins, who burst onto the scene by portraying a young Prince Charles on The Crown, will play the title character, while Shameless star David Threlfall will play Chief of Police Sir Charles Rowan.
The copper will become “increasingly obsessed” with catching Dodger and his criminal associates, as the group cause havoc across the city in pursuit of a better life.
Eccleston said: “Fagin is an iconic role, I’m a very fortunate actor. Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery have taken Charles Dickens’s extraordinary characters and imagined a whole new world and lives for them. I’m very, very excited.”
Saira Choudhry (Life, No Offence) has been cast as Dickens character Nancy in the upcoming series, while a supporting cast of promising newcomers includes Aabay Ali, Ellie-May Sheridan, Mila Lieu and Connor Curren.
Co-writers Lucy Montgomery and Rhys Thomas will also star as Fagin’s landlady, Minnie Bilge, and inept police officer PC Duff respectively, the latter being partnered up with Javone Prince (Horrible Histories) as PC Blathers.
Thomas added: “I have always loved Oliver Twist but wasn’t so keen on Oliver himself. I preferred the company of Dodger, Fagin and the gang. I thought it would be fun to create a family show with Dodger at its heart and see how he came to be a master criminal in Victorian London.
“Working with the very best material as a springboard, it’s a total delight to expand Dickens’ rich world of characters and create a few of my own. To top it all, we have an incredible cast who are starring in the show. I can’t wait for families all over the world to see it!”
The first series of Dodger will consist of 1o episodes, each clocking in at approximately 45 minutes, which will premiere next year.