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McGrath of Harlow BS: BBC ruin A Christmas Carol (52* d) RE: BS: BBC ruin A Christmas Carol 02 Jan 20

I'd agree with BobL. pretty much, though I'd draw the line at describing Scrooge as having been "essentially a good man". I'd put it as his having been essentially a bad man, but his sins were those of omission rather than commission, He saw himself as acting perfectly correctly, acting in accord with accepted business principle. As for human suffering, that wasn't his responsibility, he paid his taxes and left all that to the authorities. In modern times he'd have been a dedicated tax avoider, while steering just clear of outright tax evasion. So far as the mine accident he'd have pointed out that he hadn't breached any health and safety regulations. If there was any blame for miners deaths it rested those laying down the regulations - and in any case a few industrial accidents were inevitable concomitants of a healthy industrial economy.

This latest version differed from that of Dickens by presenting us with a Scrooge who was driven by a totally cynical view of humanity, and determined to prove it. His abuse of Mrs Cratchett was purely an attempt to confirm that everything in this world is driven by self aggrandisement, expressed in money. He never even touched her, because he wasn't interested in that kind of thing.

This version switched the emphasis from Scrooge being seen as a representative of a dehumaised social system to his being seen as a screwed up individual with deep psychological scars. I could understand this, but felt it was a mistake.

But this was an interesting variant on Dicken's story, and beautifully done. I can't understand what is meant by asserting that variants "ruin" the original. Surely that is one thing we gain from folk music - a recognition that variants don't ruin anything, they just add richness. The original is still there to set against the range of other options of how to do it.

I doubt if this version of the story will be one I'll watch most Christmasses (like Alistair Sims one - and the Muppets), but I was glad to be given it - and I think it helps us to understand the original more fully. It's part of its continuing life as giving us an additional kind of myth for the season.

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