Christopher Eccleston to Play Fagin in Charles Dickens Family Drama ‘Dodger’

Christopher Eccleston speaks at New York Comic Con 2019
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for ReedPOP

Christopher Eccleston will take on the role of one of Charles Dickens’ most iconic villains in Dodger, a new 10-part series produced by NBCUniversal International Studios.

The Doctor Who and Leftovers star will play infamous thief Fagin in the family adventure series, which is set within the world of Dickens’ Oliver Twist. He will star alongside David Threlfall (Shameless UK) as the chief of police Sir Charles Rowan, Saira Choudhry (No Offence) as Nancy, and Billy Jenkins (The Crown) as the Artful Dodger himself.

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Written by Rhys Thomas and Lucy Montgomery (who will also appear on-screen), Dodger takes place before the events of Oliver Twist. The series follows the exploits of the cunning pickpocket, the Artful Dodger, and the other children working in Fagin’s gang as they find ingenious ways to survive the grim and exploitative conditions of Victorian London.

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

Billy Jenkins as the Artful Dodger

BBC

Rounding out the cast is Sam C Wilson as Bill Sikes, Tanya Reynolds as Queen Victoria, Frances Barber as theatrical dame Eliza Vestris, and Javone Prince as PC Blathers. Members of Fagin’s gang will be played by newcomer Aabay Ali, Ellie-May Sheridan, Mila Lieu, and Connor Curren.

“I have always loved Oliver Twist but wasn’t so keen on Oliver himself,” said Thomas. “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.”

Thomas continued: “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 BBC-0rdered project is and is currently filming in Manchester and various locations around the north west of England.