Christopher Eccleston has ‘big boots to fill' starring in Oliver Twist prequel

The actor stars in the upcoming series Dodger, which will air on CBBC.

Christopher Eccleston has said he has “big boots to fill” playing Fagin in a prequel to Charles Dickens’ novel.

The former Doctor Who star and two-time Bafta award nominee, 57, plays the criminal organiser in the upcoming CBBC series Dodger – an adaptation of Oliver Twist.

Appearing on The One Show, co-host Ronan Keating asked the actor whether he “felt the pressure” stepping into Ron Moody’s shoes after the 1968 film version won six Academy Awards – including best picture.

Eccleston said: “They are big boots to fill. I have to say I was four when I saw Ron Moody and I fell in love with his performance, I actually fell in love with the gang rather than Oliver Twist.

“I wanted to know what happened to them, so it’s big boots to fill but we’re hoping that our younger audience will fall in love with these characters, we want this to be watched as a family.”

Actor Billy Jenkins, 14, who plays a young Prince Charles in the first two seasons of Netflix’s The Crown, told the BBC programme that his new role in Dodger could not be more different.

He said: “There’s a huge difference – the costume, I was muddy, dirty and I had rotten teeth and then when I was Prince Charles I was all done up and in a nice bed.

The Crown Season 2 Premiere – London
Billy Jenkins, who played Prince Charles, attending the season two premiere of The Crown (Ian West/PA)

“One posh accent and one cockney accent.

“They had to dye my hair because I was quite light so they had to darken it so I looked proper dingy, put mud on my face, and at the end it was in a little nail varnish bottle, they used to paint it on your teeth.

“You had to open your mouth and let it dry, otherwise it would go all on your lips, but I used to talk a little bit so make-up used to get annoyed every now and then.”

Jenkins explained to co-host Alex Jones that he first got into acting after he mistakenly dressed up as Michael Jackson on a school day.

He added: “I came in and no-one was in fancy dress, all my friends were laughing.

“I did the moonwalking and a bit of dancing, and a massive coincidence, there was a casting agent there and they were looking for some boys and they saw me do that so they picked me.”

Dodger airs on CBBC and BBC iPlayer from February 6.

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