7 AUGUST 2007

It's a story that's been known and loved for over a century, with numerous film and TV adaptations bringing it to audiences around the world. And now, with a little help from Oscar-nominee Sophie Okonedo and Mary Antoinette actor Tom Hardy, Oliver Twist is being made into a new gritty five-part BBC series, to be screened this autumn.

The pair certainly looked the part as filming began in London this week. Wearing a floor-length, 19th-century-style gown Hotel Rwanda actress Sophie was in costume as big-hearted lady of the night Nancy. Meanwhile, handsome Tom - clad in a well-worn waistcoat and cravat - looked guaranteed to set female hearts racing as Sophie's on-screen love interest, bad boy Bill Sykes.

Also appearing in the new production are Secrets And Lies actor Timothy Spall, who plays criminal mastermind Fagin, and Edward Fox - starring as orphan Oliver's grandfather.

And the show's producers promise that though the show is set in the time Dickens intended, it will have a modern edge. "Oliver twist is dark and edgy, dangerous and urgent, tragic and pretty frightening in places. But there is comedy in it, too," reveals the programme's scriptwriter.

Photo: ©
The Hotel Rwanda actress plays big-hearted lady of the night Nancy in a reworking of the Dickens classic Photo: © PA
Photo: ©
Meanwhile handsome Layer Cake actor Tom had donned 19th-century street wear for his role as bad boy Bill Sykes in the five-episode dramaPhoto: © PA