Maverick director Roman Polanski is profoundly affected by the title character of Oliver Twist, as he suffered a similarly heartbreaking childhood himself.

The 72-year-old film-maker, who is remaking the haunting CHARLES DICKENS classic for the big screen, has related to the abandoned boy ever since his family was torn apart by the events of World War II.

He says, "I also knew what it was like, as a boy, not to have a permanent home and to be brought up by people other than my parents.

"It is an insecure way to live. People drift in and out of your life. You are wearing second-hand clothes and living in a second-hand life.

"In a way, it was like London in the 1840s all over again - but a century later. History does repeat itself."