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A Christmas Carol, A (BBC 1977, Michael Hordern, John Le Mesurier)

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The quintessential Christmas story and the quintessential TV version of it. Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol has been one of cinema’s favourites for years, most notably with Alastair Sim’s 1951 version and the Albert Finney musical of the late sixties, but it’s this hour long BBC version is also a stand out.

First broadcast Christmas Eve 1977 this is a classic simply told version of the story, all shot on video like the best BBC productions of the seventies to give it that nostalgically real feel. Michael Hordern is Ebenezer Scrooge – that miser who finds nothing but ‘Bah Humbug’ to say about Christmas but after being visited by a series of ghosts on Christmas Eve he learns the error of his ways just in time to but the biggest turkey in the shop for his downtrodden employees, especially Bill Cratchit and his family.

Very, very good and a great way to get you into the proper Christmas spirit, A Christmas Carol features some great playing by some of the greats of British acting. The production also captures that wonderful, foggy, cold Victorian winter atmosphere a treat, not bad for a studio bound piece. Despite its quite short running time ACC manages to stay remarkably true to Dickens’ text.

Previously done in the early 1950’s with Bransby Williams as Scrooge.

production details
UK | BBC | 1×60 minutes | Broadcast 24 December 1977

Writer: Elaine Morgan
Novel: Charles Dickens
Music: Sam Barclay
Costume Design: Barbara Kidd
Production Design: Barry Newbery
Producer: Jonathan Powell
Director: Moira Armstrong

cast
Michael Hordern as Ebenezer Scrooge
Clive Merrison as Bob Cratchit
Maev Alexander as Fred’s Wife
Christopher Biggins as Topper
June Brown as Mrs Dilber
Timothy Chasin as Tiny Tim Cratchit
Stephen Churchett as John
Zelah Clarke as Marthur Cratchit
Paul Copley as Fred
Veronica Doran as Caroline
John Grillo as Caroline’s Husband
Dorian Healy as Schoolboy Scrooge
Nicholas John as Dick Wilkins
Bernard Lee as The Ghost of Christmas Present
John Le Mesurier as Marley
Carol MacReady as Mrs Cratchit
Claire McLellan as Belinda Cratchit
Michael Mulcaster as The Ghost of Christmas Future
Patricia Quinn as Ghost of Christmas Past
John Ringham as Charity Gentleman
David Ronder as Peter Cratchit
John Salthouse as Young Scrooge
Will Stampe as Fezziwig
Zoe Wanamaker as Belle

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