Christmas Carol first editionFirst edition

A Christmas Carol

Publication details ▽ Publication details △

Original title
A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.

First publication
1843

Literary form
Novella

Genres
Literary

Language
English

Author's country
England

Length
Approx. 28,000 words

Blackadder's Christmas Carol scene
Tony Robinson, left, and Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder) are back for a deliciously demoralizaing tale.

A Chistmas Carol

THE NOVELLA | THE TEXT | THE MOVIES

1935, 1938, 1951, 1970, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1988, 1997

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 reportedy been removed from from several, if not most, re-releases of the program.

— Eric McMillan

THE NOVELLA | THE TEXT | THE MOVIES

1935, 1938, 1951, 1970, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1988, 1997