The current series of Oliver Twist on BBC1 is very strange. Of course, everyone knows the story well. A couple of times this week I was watching it when the phone went and I had to mute the TV: no problem still following what was happening. I can't really see where they're going with this. In a way it's like 'stenders and yet it's less gritty than the original. Much as I like Timothy Spall he is not evil Fagin. Why do they make Fagin nicer and Mr Brownlow nastier than in the book? The Monk plot is made much more obvious, which is probably a good thing. My chief whinge is last night's episode: the murder of Nancy. In the novel, this is a savage, frenzied attack followed by Sykes' nightmare journey. I read this when I was too young and was terrified by it. It's also well known that Dickens used to get so over-excited reading this in public that he made himself ill. What did we get on TV? A thump on the head (no blood) and Bill seeming surprised at what he'd done. Tom Hardy has been praised for this performance but Robert Newton (see left) was much closer to Dickens' idea.
I see The Old Curiosity Shop will be on over Christmas: will we be crying or laughing over Little Nell?