December 22, 2019
It’s been over 175 years since A Christmas Carol was first published, and in the time since, Charles Dickens’ story has been adapted more times than it’s possible to count. 
A Christmas Carol: Everything To Know About The BBCs New Adaptation
We all know the story – cold-hearted boss Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by ghosts from the past, present and future on a freezing Christmas Eve as they try to change his miserly ways – and while obviously nothing will ever compare to the Muppets’ take on the text, this Christmas sees a new-part adaptation debut on the BBC that deserves your time.
Here’s what you need to know about it...Is is written by the same guy as Peaky Blinders, so expect it to be darker version of the storyPeaky Blinders writer and creator Steven Knight has taken on the task of delivering a new version of the classic festive tale, so you can expect it to be a littler darker than others have been in the past.
A description of the show says it is a “haunting, hallucinatory, spine-tingling immersion into Scrooge’s dark night of the soul”.While Steven says he “tried to stay faithful to the text”, he found a new edge after he asked additional questions about Scrooge that perhaps Dickens was “not allowed to write about due to contemporary sensibilities”. 
“I have asked why Scrooge is the man he is, what caused him to be so, and I have offered what I hope are challenging answers,” he says. It has an all-star cast The cast is headed up by Hollywood star Guy Pearce (The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech and, of course, Neighbours) as the cold-hearted Scrooge. “For Scrooge, who I play, Steve and Nick Murphy (director), wanted somebody far more contemporary in personality,” he says of his version of the character.
“They wanted a ruthless businessman, someone with swagger and confidence, who faced the world in a very logical, rational, powerful way. They wanted somebody almost like a bully, who had enough confidence to take everybody on. As opposed to the Scrooge that we’ve come to know who is usually quite a bit older, a crotchety miserable old man, who doesn’t really want to have anything to do with the world anymore and has no joy left.
“This Scrooge has real swagger and real attitude.”
Andy Serkis (Lord Of The Rings, King Kong, Star Wars) plays the Ghost Of Christmas Past who he describes as being “much more confrontational”. “He’s normally portrayed as this affable character who takes Scrooge back to an early part of his life where things were happy,” he says. “But in this version, he is going in there to examine Scrooge’s soul, he’s got a red-hot poker that he’s trying to press against Scrooges conscience to get him to stop denying who he is.”
Line Of Duty star Stephen Graham (This Is England, Boardwalk Empire, Rocketman) plays Scrooge’s late business partner Jacob Marley, who has an increased role in the story. Stephen explains: “We get to see Marley and Scrooge in a way we haven’t before, as businessmen.
“He is trapped in purgatory and has repented, but the only way he can be redeemed is through Scrooge realising the error of his own ways. So, there’s an added pressure on him to try and make Scrooge aware of where he’s gone wrong in life.”
The show also sees Steven Knight team up again with former Peaky Blinders star Charlotte Riley – better known as May Carleton.Charlotte (DCI Banks, Dark Heart, World Without End) plays The Spirit Of Christmas Present, who is presented as a human, rather than an entity or an unknown spirit.
“Her spirit is that of his sister,” she says. “What I think is exciting is how Steven’s taken a character that I personally think is a bit dull in the book and created a connection with Scrooge.”
The Favourite’s Joe Alwyn (yes, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend) plays Scrooge’s employee Bob Cratchit. He claims he had not watched another version of the character going into the show as he “didn’t want to be clouded by other interpretations or versions”.
“I’ve seen snippets of the Jim Carrey one and I know Albert Finney was in one and Patrick Stewart and Richard E. Grant in another, but I’ve never sat down and watched them all,” he says, omitting the greatest interpretation of them all, Kermit The Frog.
Vinette Robinson (Sherlock, Delicious, Black Mirror) plays Bob’s wife Mary, while Jason Flemyng (Snatch, Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels) and Kayvan Novak (Fonejacker, Facejacker) are also among the cast. It has been well received by criticsRadio Times (4 stars)
“This grisly, gritty take on such a well-loved seasonal staple will surely prove divisive. But then what would be the point of doing it at all, if it turned out to be just another cosy re-tread? In Steven Knight and Nick Murphy’s hands, this familiar story feels vivid and vital and new.”
The List
“This remoulding of A Christmas Carol is a welcome and wintry depiction of torment.”
The Hollywood Reporter
“There have certainly been attempts at gritty and dark interpretations of the Dickens text, but few as random and gratuitous as Steven Knight brings to the table in his new take for FX and BBC. Finally, we have a Christmas Carol in which Ebenezer Scrooge can bellow ‘Fuck!!!’ several times for limited reason.”
The Telegraph (4 stars)
“It’s ultimately an ambitious, brutal take on Dickens’s familiar ghost story (although the traditional cautionary element is still very much to the fore). Yes, it’s a little hammy, but it’s also haunting and hallucinatory. Just don’t expect to sleep well on Christmas Eve.”Watch the trailer...A Christmas Carol airs on 22, 23 and 24 December at 9pm on BBC One. MORE CHRISTMAS TELLY... A Tidy Guide To What's Occurrin' In The Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special 30 Unmissable Films On TV This Christmas The 50 Best TV Shows To Feast Your Eyes On This Christmas
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