Alan Bleasdale's excellent adaptatation of Charles Dickens' classic story of a young boy who's life in Victorian England is far from perfect. His mother died in child birth, so he is brought up in an orphanage, then moved to a work house. Under nourished, he has the nerve to ask for more. From that moment on, the boy begins a journey that sees him fall in to the company of a gang of thieves led by Fagin, superbly played by Robert Lyndsay. He later meets a gentleman, Mr. Brownlow (Micheal Kitchen)who unknowingly holds the key to the boy's future as well as answers from his past. Sam Smith plays Oliver with a depth of character not seen before or since in any other dramatisation. With a stunning supporing cast including Julie Walters, Roger Lloyd Pack, Alun Armstrong, Sophia Myles and Lindsay Duncan. Andy Serkis is chilling as Bill Sykes and Marc Warren is just brilliant as Monks. Very high production values make this look stunning and in some ways better than the recent cinema release. Bleasdale expands a back story, only briefly touched on in the original work, to add intense complexity to the story. It is a brave move, as it makes the drama run to nearly six and a half hours! It pays off though, as so many loose ends get tied up to make the story make sense as it never has before. Originally made for and shown on ITV in 1999, it is proof that when they try, they can make superb dramas. I hope and believe this to be the unabridged version, as subsequent repeats on TV had major cuts made, so as to appeal to a younger audience. In my opinion, this is the best screen version of Dickens' Classic tale.