Christopher Eccleston Feels Fortunate to Join 'Oliver Twist' Prequel Series
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TV

Added to a cast that includes David Threlfall, Billy Jenkins, and Saira Choudhry, the former 'Doctor Who' star will take on the role of beggar king Fagin in ten-part BBC mini-series titled 'Dodger'.

AceShowbiz - Former "Doctor Who" star Christopher Eccleston is to play beggar king Fagin in a BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist".

The Brit has joined a cast that includes David Threlfall, Billy Jenkins, and Saira Choudhry in 10-part mini-series "Dodger". Threlfall will take on the role of the chief of police, while Jenkins will star as Dodger and Choudhry as Nancy.

"Fagin is an iconic role," Eccleston says. "I'm a very fortunate actor. [Writers] 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."

Thomas, who will also co-direct the series, adds, "I have always loved Oliver Twist but wasn't so keen on Oliver himself. I preferred the company of [Artful] 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," Thomas added. "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 series will air later this year. Set to take place before the events of "Oliver Twist", it will offer the backstory of cunning pickpocket Artful Dodger and other children in Fagin's gang amidst the grim and exploitative conditions of 1830s Victorian London. Filming has started in Manchester.

Eccleston is the latest actor to take on the role of Fagin, who was played by Alec Guinness and Ron Moody in two hit movies, while Timothy Spall portrayed the lovable rogue in 2007 mini-series "Oliver Twist".

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