A host of new dramas are heading to CBBC, including Dodger based on Charles Dickens’ infamous Oliver Twist character.
The ten-part series will see Christopher Eccleston (The A Word) star as Fagin, with David Threlfall taking the role of Sir Charles Rowan, the Chief of Police. Billy Jenkins (The Crown) will star as the titular Dodger, with Saira Choudhury (Life) as Nancy.
Written by Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery, with a guest episode written by Charlie Higson, Dodger will follow the iconic pickpocket and his gang as they weave through London to fulfil Fagin’s light-fingered demands and avoid the hangman’s noose.
Newcomer Aabay Ali stars as Dodger’s pickpocketing partner-in-crime Charley, a mysterious young girl from the countryside. Together they lead Fagin’s gang of misfits through the forbidding criminal underworld of Victorian London in the 1830s, including Polly (Ellie-May Sheridan), Tang (Mila Lieu) and Dodger’s enemy in the gang, Tom (Connor Curren).
The cast will also include Tanya Reynolds (Sex Education) as Queen Victoria, Sam C Wilson (Hanna) as Bill Sykes, Lucy Montgomery (Disenchantment) as Fagin’s landlady, Minnie Bilge, and Frances Barber as the theatrical dame, Eliza Vestris.
Rhys Thomas says: “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!”
Christopher Eccleston adds: “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.”
Filming on Dodger is currently underway in Manchester.
The BBC has also announced several new shows, including Silverpoint (w/t), Nova Point, Still So Awkward and Princess Mirror-Belle, as well as the return of familiar favourites Malory Towers, Jamie Johnson, Mystic and Almost Never.