I’m thinking about the Artful Dodger, the character Dickens slipped into and out of Oliver Twist without a second thought.
Anthony Newley, Jack Wild, Phil Collins and Tony Robinson all portrayed him on stage and in film and there must have been dozens of others who have done the same. There is/was a band named after him, at least three pubs to my knowledge and who knows what else?
In print, perhaps less has been made of him. When I wrote Dodger’s Lot back in 2001 I thought I’d entered a clear field but whereas I portrayed the eponymous Jack Dawkins running away to sea and having adventures in Imperial Bengal, I later found somebody else had him joining the Army as a boy soldier. Now I find Sir Terry Pratchett is having a go.
Have we all had to much of him and are we, as my lovely editor Sara says, ‘all Dickensed out’ in this the great man’s bicentenial year?
Still, the logo next to my name tells you of my affinity with the lad. I love him and have planned three follow up stories to Dodger’s Lot.
What you think? Is there too much Dickens right now? And what about the Dodger, don’t you just love him?