Tom Hardy, Sophie Okenodo, Timothy Spall, Edward Fox, Rob Brydon and Julian Rhind-Tutt are amongst the all-star cast of the BBC’s new adaptation of Oliver Twist, which starts airing tonight (18 December 2007) on BBC One. But in the new year, the Beeb is planning to have another go at the Charles Dickens’ classic – and leaving casting decisions to the public.

According to the Daily Mail, Oliver!, Lionel Bart’s 1960 stage musical based on Dickens’ novel (which was also made into a 1968 film), will be the next show to receive the reality TV casting treatment, with the search on to play the parts of Nancy and Artful Dodger (but curiously not the title role?)

Andrew Lloyd Webber will once again feature as one of the competition’s judges, although, unlike How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? and Any Dream Will Do, which found stars Connie Fisher and Lee Mead for The Sound of Music and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat respectively, he will not produce the resulting stage production nor will it run in one of the West End theatres owned by his Really Useful company.

It’s more likely to be seen in one of the houses owned by rival impresario Cameron Mackintosh, who controls the rights to the musical and who produced the 1994 Sam Mendes production at the London Palladium, on which next year’s Oliver! will be based. No dates have yet been set for the stage production. The BBC Oliver! series – which has apparently won out over a previously proposed My Fair Lady search (See The Goss, 6 Jul 2007) is due to air in the spring.

Any takers for a bet that the title may be “I’d Do Anything” (after one of the musical’s song titles)? It certainly seems an apt one for determined contestants.