A Christmas Carol 2019 takes place on “the Eve of Christmas Eve” in London, 1843, and while it’s broadcast tomorrow night on BBC1 at 9pm, it’s already aired in the US.
It’s exactly a year since Jacob Marley (Stephen Graham) died at the age of just 47, the same age as me! I hope I don’t die any time soon. I’m too busy!
Then fast-forward to the morning of Christmas Eve, and Ebeneezer Scrooge (Guy Pearce – Brimstone) is already at work because he’s a miserly old get and even moans when Bob Cratchit (Joe Alwyn) gets there a few minutes late, and wants to leave early at 3pm instead of 4pm, but no, that’s not good enough! I’ve had a supervisor like that once…
Pearce is hilariously sarcastic as he’s all “Bah humbug!” and talks about how the human beast is NOT the human beast just because of this one day a year.
Along the way, Scrooge talks out loud to a non-existent Marley, he turns down Christmas dinner invitations with a relative, and in the first episode, we see how Marley comes back to haunt his ex-colleague and we know before long, he’ll be visited by three ghosts – including Andy Serkis as the Ghost of Christmas Past – and this is a centuries-old tale, so that’s not a spoiler!
As we go through is nasty man’s life, and carries out all manner of actions, you really can feel what a miserable old bastard he is. He even thinks the homeless should go and sleep in the spare rooms in the prison!
No doubt, this will be aimed at a family audience, but there is occasional strong language, so it could just about get away with a 12-certificate. There is a darker tone to this than I have seen in this story before, so it could be pushed to a 15-cert, which might make it look less of a prospect as a family movie, even though youngsters may want to.
Overall, Guy Pearce is superb as always, but on the whole, this does feel a bit flat and rather drawn out, and especially so when he’s not onscreen. However, the last of the three episodes is the strongest and does pick up the drama.
A Christmas Carol 2019 has already been shown on US TV, but it is broadcast on BBC1 over three nights from Sunday December 22nd at 9pm.
It is not available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but it is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer once each episode has been broadcast.
Director: Nick Murphy
Producer: Julian Stevens
Screenplay: Steven Knight
Original story: Charles Dickens
Music: Volker Bertelmann, Dustin O’Halloran
Ebenezer Scrooge: Guy Pearce
Bob Cratchit: Joe Alwyn
Jacob Marley: Stephen Graham
Mary Cratchit: Vinette Robinson
Tiny Tim: Lenny Rush
Belinda Cratchit: Tiarna Williams
Scrooge’s Daughter: Thea Achillea
Mr. Thwaites: Delroy Atkinson
Young Scrooge: Billy Barratt
Elizabeth (Scrooge’s Wife): Emma Caraman
Spirit of Businessman Past: Paul Chahidi
Future Belinda: Natasha Culzac
Old Lady: Ninette Finch
Ghost of Christmas Future: Jason Flemyng
Pieman: Vince Hanratty
Franklin Scrooge: Johnny Harris
Priest: Robert Jarvis
Scrooge’s Son: Billy Jenkins
Young Lottie: Carmel Laniado
Gentleman: Jason Lines
Chestnut Seller: Niamh Lynch
Grown Miners Son: Tom Medcalf
Blacksmith: Abraham Popoola
Lottie: Charlotte Riley
Ghost of Christmas Past: Andy Serkis
Rag & Bone Man: Elliot Warren
Ali Baba: Kayvan Novak
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.