Disney+ has been commissioning overseas series for the U.K. and other countries since it launched the streaming service internationally. Though the bulk of its productions seem to be based out of London, there are some Australian original series floating about. Like the U.K. series, these won't come to the American version of Disney+, which is far stricter about what gets to be part of its "brand" and what isn't. That brand definitely doesn't seem to include Charles Dickens; FX's Great Expectations, for example, ended up on Hulu, and now the latest Dickens-esque Oliver Twist sequel series, The Artful Dodger, will follow suit, arriving on Hulu for the holiday season.
Disney+ first announced the series was greenlit to go into production with the full cast in place in December 2022. The series stars Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who has grown into an adult since PBS viewers last saw him on The Durrells in Corfu. His main co-star is David Thewlis, most recently seen starring opposite Olivia Colman in Landscapers, the two play official Dickens characters from the novel, with Brodie-Sangster as Jack Dawson, aka the titular Artful Dodger, and Thewlis as Fagin, the main surviving adult from the original novel.
The two will be joined by Australian actor Maia Mitchell, who has a long track record of doing Disney movies as a teen and starred in The Fosters, which aired on Disney-owned cable network Freeform. She plays a brand new character invented for the series and Dawson's love interest.
Here's the series synopsis:
An irreverent follow-up to Charles Dickens Oliver Twist, the series is set in 1850s Australia where Jack Dawkins, aka young rogue The Artful Dodger, is now all grown up and has transferred his skills as a pickpocket to the nimble fingers of a surgeon. His past returns to haunt him with the arrival of Fagin, luring him back into a world of crime, while the local governor’s daughter, who is determined to become the colony’s first female surgeon, appears to be a greater threat, at least to his heart.
From heists and life-and-death surgeries to the harsh realities of the criminal world mingling with the middle ground and gentry, this eight-part series is a tale of reinvention, betrayal, redemption, and love... with a twist.
Brodie-Sangster, Thewlis, and Mitchell are joined by well-known Australian actors Damon Herriman (The Tourist), Miranda Tapsell (The Dry), Jessica De Gouw (Vienna Blood), Tim Minchin (Peter Rabbit 2), Damien Garvey (Jack Irish), Susie Porter (No Escape), Kim Gyngell (Black Snow), and Robert McFarlane (North Shore). Lucy-Rose Leonard (Sleeping Dogs), Martin Cohen (Home & Away). Ezekiel Simat (Amazing Grace), Robbie Durrant (Nest), Vivienne Awosoga (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart), and Andrea Demetriades (Reckoning) round out the cast.
The series is written by James McNamara, Andrew Knight, Vivienne Walshe, and Dan Knight, with Tapsell doubling as a story consultant. Directors Corrie Chen (New Gold Mountain) and Gracie Otto (Heartbreak High) split helming duties. The series was created by McNamara, David Maher, and David Taylor as a co-production with Sony Pictures Television’s Curio Pictures and produced by Beach Road Pictures. Jo Porter executive produces for Curio Pictures, with Maher and Taylor for Beach Road Pictures.
The Artful Dodger premieres on November 29, 2023.