Christopher Eccleston to star in BBC adaptation of Oliver Twist

Christopher Eccleston is to star in a BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

The former Doctor Who star, 57, will play criminal organiser Fagin in the series, which is titled Dodger.

Shameless star David Threlfall will play chief of police Sir Charles Rowan in the 10-part family drama, while Billy Jenkins and Saira Choudhry will also feature.

The series, which will appear on CBBC and BBC iPlayer, has been written by Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery, while Charlie Higson has also guest-written an episode.

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Eccleston said: “Fagin is an iconic role, I’m a very fortunate actor.

“Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery have taken Charles Dickens’ extraordinary characters and imagined a whole new world and lives for them.

“I’m very, very excited.”

Accidental Studio Screening – London
Charlie Higson (Ian West/PA)

Thomas, who is also co-directing the series, said: “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 programme will air later this year.

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