A Chistmas Carol
A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.
Approx. 28,000 words
Tony Robinson, left, and Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder) are back for a deliciously demoralizing tale.
Scrooge in reverse
Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988): Director Richard Boden; writer Richard Curtis, Ben Elton; featuring Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Hugh Laurie, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry, Robbie Coltrane
When you've had enough uplifting Dickens, you may need a dose of the misanthropic antidote: Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988).
It's only forty-eight minutes and made for TV, but it's a hoot. British comic actor Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean) takes a break from his Blackadder comedy show about the eponymously surnamed cynic who spans the centuries. It ran as a stand-alone episode between the third series (Blackadder the Third, 1987) and fourth series (Blackadder Goes Forth, 1989). This time he focuses on Ebenezer Blackadder in 19th-century London.
But the twist on the famous Christmas story is that this Ebenezer's transformation is in the opposite direction to what Dickens's Scrooge went through.
This Ebenezer starts out on Christmas Eve as a kindly man who gives generously to all, until visiting spirits, showing him the lives of his family members past and future, convince him he'll have a better life if he turns wicked.
Most of the best Blackadder characters, including Tony Robinson as Baldrick, Hugh Laurie as the Prince Regent George, Stephen Fry as Lord Melchett, and Miranda Richardson as Queen Elizabeth I are back for the fun.
Apparently one joke in Blackadder's Christmas Carol was too dark for some censors. At one point in the original release, Baldrick supposedly refers to a dog playing Jesus in a nativity scene and comments it will be nailed to a cross at Easter. This wasn't in the version I saw and has reportedly been removed from from several, if not most, re-releases of the program.