Need to catch up on Oliver's adventures? Watch a short video recap for episode one or read the full synopsis below.
Warning: Contains significant plot spoilers
Oliver Twist's life starts inauspiciously. Born to the workhouse — the son of an unmarried mother, who dies shortly afterwards. Orphan Oliver faces a dismal life of gruel and hard work under the watchful scrutiny of Mr. Bumble, the workhouse overseer, and Mrs. Corney. After a courageous rebellion where Oliver dares to ask for more, he is brought before the board of governors and banished. Mr. Sowerberry, the local undertaker, buys Oliver.
Life with the Sowerberrys is a slight improvement on the workhouse, but Noah Claypole, an older apprentice, torments Oliver. One day Noah taunts Oliver about his mother, causing him to snap. In a rage, Oliver flies at Noah, but escapes before Mr. Bumble can give him a sound thrashing.
Oliver sets out on foot to London. On arrival, he collapses in a tearful heap, completely thrown by the size and chaos of the city. Oliver is rescued by the Artful Dodger, who offers him sanctuary with Fagin, leader of a band of young thieves. Oliver receives the first warm welcome of his life in Fagin's den. He is fed and watered and soon meets Fagin's other boys and associates, chiefly the violent Bill Sikes and his beautiful girlfriend Nancy, with whom Oliver strikes up an instant rapport.
Wide-eyed Oliver remains oblivious to Fagin's trade until one day Dodger takes him out to teach him the trade by stealing from a wealthy gentleman. Oliver is mistakenly identified as the thief and finds himself in court. Oliver is about to be sentenced to hang, when Dodger's victim, Mr. Brownlow, appears and explains the mistake. Brownlow takes Oliver home to live with him and his niece, Rose. While there, Brownlow's grandson Edward also watches Oliver closely.
In the meantime, Fagin uncovers new information about Oliver: the mysterious Mr. Monks seems to have sinister intentions for the boy. Shrewd Fagin realizes that if Monks wishes harm on Oliver, there must be equally wealthy parties who want to ensure his safety. Fagin enlists Sikes and Nancy to help in recovering the boy.
Confined and hungry again, Oliver finds himself in the clutches of Fagin, Sikes and a more distant but watchful Monks. In order to ensure Oliver's loyalty to the gang, Sikes decides to involve him in a burglary. But they are caught in the act, and a shot rings out, followed by a scream.