It’s a story that never gets old. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’s timeless festive novella, has been adapted time and time again for film and TV, but each new telling is always something to look forward to.
The BBC’s new adaptation, a three-part Christmas Carol miniseries airing in the run-up to Christmas, is certainly no exception.
With a younger take on Scrooge and a host of impressive visual effects, the series, which is co-produced by American network FX, promises a fresh and exciting take on the tale of greed and redemption.
Peaky Blinders writer Stephen Knight is the man responsible for adapting the beloved text.
Here’s everything you need to know about the series’ cast and characters….
Guy Pearce plays Ebenezer Scrooge
Who is Ebenezer Scrooge? One of the most famous and beloved literary villains of all time, Scrooge is the mean-spirited old miser who is visited by three ghosts in the middle of the night and has been portrayed countless times on screen, including by Alastair Sim, Michael Caine (in The Muppet Christmas Carol) and Bill Murray (in Scrooged).
What else has Guy Pearce been in? Guy Pearce first rose to fame in the hit Aussie soap Neighbours, and broke through into film playing a drag queen in Australian comedy Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He went on to star in a number of acclaimed Hollywood movies, including LA Confidential, Christopher Nolan’s Memento, and The Road. More recently, he has starred in Iron Man 3, and Mary Queen of Scots earlier this year.
Andy Serkis plays the Ghost of Christmas Past
Who is the Ghost of Christmas Past? The first of the three spirits to visit Scrooge before Christmas, the Ghost of Christmas Past is responsible for whisking old Ebenezer back in time, to observe his life when he was younger and more innocent. The character has been played by both male and female actors down the years.
What else has Andy Serkis been in? Although some may struggle to recognise Andy Serkis from his face, he’s starred in several of the most popular movies of the past few decades – often behind a layer of CGI.
Serkis has played such roles as devious ring-addict Gollum in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Supreme Emperor Snoke in the Star Wars sequels, and simian hero Caesar in the recent Planet of the Apes films. He has also appeared in Black Panther, and directed 2018’s Jungle Book adaptation Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle.
Stephen Graham plays Jacob Marley
Who is Jacob Marley? Jacob Marley is Scrooge’s old, dead business partner, who comes back to haunt his former friend and announce the impending arrivals of the three Christmas spirits.
What has Stephen Graham been in? Graham is perhaps best known for his highly acclaimed collaborations with filmmaker Shane Meadows – in This Is England and 2019’s Channel 4 miniseries The Virtues. The Scouse actor has also had notable roles in Line of Duty, HBO period drama Boardwalk Empire (playing Al Capone) and, recently, in The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic produced for Netflix.
Who is Bob Cratchit? The kind, generous family man and Scrooge’s clerk is often a sugary-sweet counterbalance to Scrooge’s dour persona, but this Bob Cratchit adds barely suppressed rage at his miserly employer to the mix.
What has Joe Alwyn been in? Joe Alwyn’s first role was the lead in the military satire Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime walk, directed by Ang Lee. He has since appeared in films such as The Favourite, Boy Erased and Mary Queen of Scots. He is also known for dating pop music superstar Taylor Swift.
Charlotte Riley plays Lottie / The Spirit of Christmas Present
Who is Lottie / The Spirit of Christmas Present? The Spirit of Christmas Present is the entity that takes Scrooge around town in (what is then) the present, handing Scrooge his second moral lesson. This new adaptation adds an extra twist – the spirit is the ghost of Scrooge’s dead sister, Lottie.
What has Charlotte Riley been in before? Charlotte Riley is most recognisable for her roles as Catherine Earnshaw in ITV’s 2009 Wuthering Heights adaptation, and as Sarah Hurst in the 2008 comedy Easy Virtue. She has also had roles in films such as Edge of Tomorrow and London Has Fallen, and played the lead in the short-lived BBC journo drama Press. She had previously worked with A Christmas Carol writer Steven Knight on Peaky Blinders, playing May Carleton.
Vinette Robinson plays Mary Cratchit
Who is Mary Cratchit? Mary Cratchit is the loyal wife to Bob Cratchit, and mother to Tiny Tim. The new BBC miniseries fleshes out the minor role from Dickens’s novel.
What has Vinette Robinson been in before? Vinette Robinson has appeared in four episodes of the hit sleuth series Sherlock, playing Sgt Sally Donovan. Other roles include iconic civil rights activist Rosa Parks on an episode of Doctor Who in 2018, and Helen Hopewell in Waterloo Road. Robinson also starred in an episode of Black Mirror, titled Hated in the Nation, which debuted on Netflix in 2016.
Jason Flemyng plays the Ghost of Christmas Future
Who is the Ghost of Christmas Future? The final straw for Ebenezer Scrooge, responsible for showing him the dark fate of Tiny Tim and his own unmourned grave, the Ghost of Christmas Future is always presented as a harrowing, deathly vision – often given the form of the Grim Reaper.
What has Jason Flemyng been in before? English actor Flemyng is known for his collaborations with action director Guy Ritchie, in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch. Flemyng has also appeared in the 2018 Sky Atlantic drama series Save Me, as well as in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (playing Thomas Button, the father of Brad Pitt’s title character).
Kayvan Novak plays Ali Baba
Who is Ali Baba? Ali Baba is the central character in the story ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’, a folk tale included in the Arabian Nights. Almost never included in screen adaptations of A Christmas Carol, Baba appears to Scrooge in Dickens’s original text when he is brought to recall his childhood love of literature. Given Kayvan Novak’s comic background, the character is likely to be used as comic relief.
What has Kayvan Novak been in before? British actor Kayvan Novak has recently starred in the acclaimed vampire sit-com What We Do in the Shadows (a TV adaptation of Taika Waititi’s hit 2014 comedy) as Nandor. Before this, he starred in the beloved 2010 terrorism comedy Four Lions, and has also appeared in films including Men in Black: International, Paddington and Cuban Fury.
Johnny Harris plays Franklin Scrooge
Who is Franklin Scrooge? Franklin Scrooge is Ebenezer’s father, and the root of all his greed and bitterness. Seen when Ebenezer travels back to the past, Franklin Scrooge was a brutal and tyrannical presence in his son’s life, neglecting his children to focus on his failing businesses.
What has Johnny Harris been in before? Harris earned acclaim for his role as another abusive father: Mick in This is England ’86 (a role he reprised in This is England ’88). He has also appeared in films including 2017’s Jawbone, Welcome to the Punch, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Atonement, and in many British TV series, such as Troy: Fall of a City and Fortitude.
Lenny Rush plays “Tiny” Tim Cratchit
Who is “Tiny Tim” Cratchit? Tim Cratchit, known to everyone as “Tiny Tim”, is Bob Cratchit’s ailing youngest son, whose health is jeopardised by Scrooge’s miserly wage bill.
What has Lenny Rush been in before? Lenny Rush is a child actor, whose only screen credit of note had been in the CBeebies children’s series Apple Tree House. He has, however, played the role of Tiny Tim before – on stage, as part of the Christmas Carol adaptation staged at London’s Old Vic theatre.
Tiarna Williams plays Belinda Cratchit
Who is Belinda Cratchit? Belinda is Bob Cratchit’s second-born child, and elder sister to Tiny Tim.
What has Tiarna Williams been in before? Williams is a child actress, who had previously appeared in the BBC’s recent adaptation of Les Misérables, playing the child version of Eponine.
A Christmas Carol begins on Sunday 22nd December at 9pm on BBC One and continues on Monday 23rd at 9:05pm and on Christmas Eve at 9pm