CHRISTMAS CAROL, A {ROSS KEMP} (TV)

Summary

This made-for-television film is a modern-day adaptation of the classic 1843 Christmas-themed novella by Charles Dickens. The story begins as Jacob Marley looks for his "business partner," loan shark Eddie Scrooge, on a council estate at night, but is then shot by an unseen person. On Christmas Eve day, Scrooge and his sidekick Bob Cratchett visit Ellie, a single mother, and take her television as restitution for her unpaid loans. Scrooge dodges Mrs. Marley, angry about the unsolved murder of her son, and then collects money from an elderly couple, Joyce and Eric, despite their protests that they are saving up for a chairlift. Another client, Ted, requests another loan to visit his daughter in Australia, and Scrooge agrees at an exceptionally high rate. Bob timidly requests Christmas Day off, explaining that his son Tim is back in the hospital because of his cystic fibrosis, but Scrooge refuses, saying that Christmas is ideal for making collections because everyone is at home. Later, Scrooge heads to a pub and rebuffs his nephew Dave's dinner invitation, and when he heads home, he is shocked by a visit from Marley, who informs him that he will have three visitors that night.

Scrooge tries to ignore Marley's warning, but his late father then appears to him through the television and explains that he is the Ghost of Christmas Past. They travel back in time to Scrooge's mother's funeral, and Scrooge angrily points out that his father was little comfort to him and his sister after her death. Young Scrooge then steals from other kids to provide for Christmas, much to his father's anger. Years later, Scrooge falls in love with a nurse, Bella, and proposes to her near Christmas, but she turns him down, saying that she dislikes his profession and his money-obsessed ways. Scrooge's father tells him that he is unhappy and can still change for the better, but Scrooge dismisses him, claiming that he is content with his life. Scrooge then awakens and realizes that it is the morning of the 24th again, and he lives the day much the same as before, taking Ellie's television, giving Ted the loan and ignoring Dave's offer. At night, he waits impatiently for the second ghost, and Marley appears to him again as the Ghost of Christmas Present and takes him to visit Joyce and Eric as well as Ellie and her kids, pointing out that they are happy despite their poverty. Dave's wife criticizes Scrooge's unkind ways, though Dave defends his uncle, saying that he is still family. At the hospital, the Cratchetts spend time with their son and Bob's wife Sue begs him to stop working for Scrooge, but he protests that they owe too much money. Bella's friend Julie tells her that she made a "lucky escape" from Scrooge, though Bella admits that she sincerely loved him and still wonders if he could change his ways.

Marley informs Scrooge that he wants her back out of greed, not out of love, and shows him two street kids, Jude and Lee, who recently died of exposure. Scrooge wakes up on Christmas Eve again and decides to make changes, this time presenting Ellie with a gift, giving Bob a week off to spend with Tim and aggressively refusing Ted's attempts to repay him. He tries to appease Mrs. Marley but claims to know nothing about Jacob's murder, and she angrily refuses his "blood money." Scrooge brings expensive gifts for Tim to the hospital and proudly tells Bella of his actions, but she turns down his offer of a drink. Later, however, he finds her at the pub and begs her to come tend to a desperately ill Jude, but the girl dies despite her attempts to save her. Bella realizes that he came to her rather than calling an ambulance right away because he wanted to impress her, and she informs him that he has not really changed at all. Marley confronts Scrooge again and he finally admits that he himself inadvertently set Marley up to be killed by a rival loan shark, Stiles, regretfully calling it a "no-going-back moment."

Scrooge is then visited by a silent and strangely familiar young boy, the Ghost of Christmas Future, who shows him that Tim has died and that Bob and Sue have split up because of his ongoing affiliation with Scrooge. Mrs. Marley oversees the sale of someone's belongings and Bella visits a cemetery with her new boyfriend, and Scrooge realizes that he himself has died, grieved by no one. He desperately asks the boy if he still has a chance for redemption, and he awakens on Christmas Eve again and decides to make things truly right. He books Ted's flight to Australia, fires Bob and takes Jude to the hospital without giving his name, and then swears to Mrs. Marley that he will help solve Jacob's murder. He returns Eric and Joyce's money, and the Cratchetts find that they have won the lottery without having entered. When Mrs. Marley and her carolers visit the family, they realize that Scrooge was behind it all. Scrooge then tells Dave, a policeman, that Stiles was Jacob's killer, explaining that he recently "found a conscience," and when he visits Jude and Lee at the hospital, Bella finds him and he tells her the strange story of his ghosts, promising that he has changed for good and still loves her. They reunite and attend dinner at Dave's, and all of Scrooge's former clients enjoy their own Christmases thanks to his good deeds. Sometime later, Scrooge and Bella have a son of their own, revealed to be the boy who showed Scrooge the error of his ways. Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: BBC
  • DATE: November 29, 2000 8:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:13:05
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 108074
  • GENRE: Drama
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Christmas
  • SERIES RUN: ITV - TV, 2000
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Jo Wright … Executive Producer
    • Laura Mackie … Executive Producer
    • Joshua St. Johnston … Producer
    • Jennifer McAufield … Associate Producer
    • Catherine Morshead … Director
    • Peter Bowker … Writer
    • Charles Dickens … Based on the novel by
    • Simon Lacey … Music by
    • Ross Kemp … Cast, Edward "Eddie" Scrooge
    • Warren Mitchell … Cast, Eddie's Dad / Ghost of Christmas Past
    • Liz Smith … Cast, Joyce
    • Michael Maloney … Cast, Bob Cratchett
    • Angeline Ball … Cast, Bella
    • Ray Fearon … Cast, Jacob Marley / Ghost of Christmas Present
    • Mina Anwar … Cast, Julie
    • Lorraine Ashbourne … Cast, Sue Cratchett
    • Shezwae Powell … Cast, Mrs. Marley
    • Bill Thomas … Cast, Ted
    • Claudia Blakley … Cast, Ellie
    • Charles Simon … Cast, Eric
    • Stefan Weclawek … Cast, Lee
    • Joanne McIntosh … Cast, Jude
    • Daniel Ansleigh … Cast, Dave
    • Eric Byrne … Cast, Young Eddie
    • Karys Warner … Cast, Kate
    • Chloe Howman … Cast, Jane
    • Ben Tibber … Cast, Tim Cratchett
    • Ben Inigo-Jones … Cast, Ghost of Christmas Future / Boy