The Artful Dodger Spin-Off is Here: Everything You Need to Know

Get your popcorn ready for an Aussie twist on the infamous pickpocket.
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While everyone may be familiar with the story of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, the world of cunning Artful Dodger is one that has been left relatively unexplored… until today. 

Set in 1850s Australia, The Artful Dodger explores the adult life of the cunning pickpocket Jack Dawkins as he attempts to reinvent himself as a respectable member of society, however, his plans are suddenly turned upside down when he welcomes the arrival of an old friend. 

Directed by Australian film and television stars Gracie Otto, Corrie Chen, and Jeffrey Walker, the Oliver Twist spin-off stars fan-favourite Thomas Brodie-Sangster as the enigmatic Dodger alongside an ensemble of Australian talent. 

WATCH: The Artful Dodger Official Trailer | Disney+. Article continues after video. 

“I’m a big, big fan of what we’ve done,” David Thewlis tells WHO. “I’ve watched it twice and it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever done.”

The British actor is stepping into the role of Fagin – a controversial character from Charles Dickens’ original text who joins the Artful Dodger in Sydney for the new series. 

“It’s a wonderful character,” he says of Fagin. “It’s a wonderful character to reinvent, and I think he did need a bit of reinventing.”

When speaking with David at the Sydney premiere, it’s clear that he, like many others in the cast, were eager to jump into the nostalgia-driven project.

“It goes back to my childhood,” he explains. “I saw the original Oliver Twist musical when I was six years old at the cinema. That’s how old I am. I lived in an area of London where Oliver was set, so I feel very connected to it. I live very close to where Fagin actually lived. Just two streets away.”

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David admits Fagin needed “a bit of reinventing.” (Credit: Getty)

Miranda Tapsell is another who points out her past ties with Charles Dickens and his prolific literary works. 

“I did A Christmas Carol on stage many years ago,” she laughs. “I was Tiny Tim!” 

Miranda also echoes David’s excitement in the project as an opportunity to reimagine and broaden the scope of the Oliver Twist ‘universe.’ 

“We have this idea of a bush ranger, and I don’t think many people know but there were Aboriginal Bush Rangers,” she explains. “I thought this was a great opportunity to be able to show Australia in all of its nuances at the time.”

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Miranda and director Corrie Chen. (Credit: Getty)

“I’m so excited about this [The Artful Dodger],” Tim Minchin tells us. “[I’m excited] for the Australian industry, for the big storytelling, and for getting to play a character that’s not like me at all.” 

“What’s amazing is that [The Artful Dodger] is mid-19th Century Australia, so it’s Australia as it’s just starting to develop whatever became its national identity,” Tim explains when discussing the show’s setting. 

“It’s very deliberately unanchored from truth, and it must be, but it still speaks to the type of characters that created colonial Australia. The dodginess, the way alcohol was moved through communities, and the kind of absolute wild west nature of that…I think that’s really interesting.”

Scroll down for everything you need to know about where to watch The Artful Dodger. 

Thomas Brodie-Sangster stars as The Artful Dodger. (Credit: Disney+)

What is The Artful Dodger about? 

Set in the fictional Australian town of Port Victory, The Artful Dodger takes place roughly 15 years after the events of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, with the story following the life of a now-adult Jack Dawkins as he attempts to re-establish his life as a respectable surgeon. 

While Jack attempts to leave his past as The Artful Dodger behind, the arrival of his former mentor Fagin lures him back into the world of crime. 

When he’s not trying to evade the law, Jack is also facing his greatest threat in the form of Lady Belle, who arrives to steal not only Jack’s heart but also his job as a surgeon. 

Who is the cast of The Artful Dodger? 

Thomas Brodie-Sangster, known best for his performances in Love Actually and The Maze Runner, stars as the series’ protagonist Jack Dawkins. 

Starring alongside Thomas is Harry Potter’s David Thewlis as the cunning Fagin and Teen Beach Movie 2 star Maia Mitchell as Lady Belle Fox.

The Artful Dodger also features a number of Australian actors, including comedian Tim Minchin, Susie Porter, Miranda Tapsell, and Damon Herriman. 

The Artful Dodger was filmed in Sydney, NSW. (Credit: Disney+)

When is The Artful Dodger release date?

For Australian viewers, all eight episodes of The Artful Dodger will be released on Disney+ on November 29, 2023. 

Where to watch The Artful Dodger in Australia? 

The Artful Dodger is available to stream on Disney+

Stream The Artful Dodger on Disney+ with a month-to-month no lock-in contract. Subscribe here. 

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