Among the many films and TV shows which add a new twist to Charles Dickens' classic tale, Blackadder's Christmas Carol
is the most ingenious. Made between Blackadder the Third
(1987) and Blackadder Goes Forth
(1989), the inspired concept is to recast the self-serving Edmund Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson) in Dickens' Scrooge role, but rather than a misanthropic miser make him the most kind-hearted man in England. Tony Robinson's Baldrick is as moronic as ever, while Robbie Coltrane plays the Spirit of Christmas like a forerunner to his Hagrid in the Harry Potter
movies, showing Edmund visions of past and future to not quite the desired effect. Hugh Laurie returns as the Prince Regent from Blackadder the Third
and the entire court from Blackadder II
(1986) is reassembled for japes involving a merry seasonal death warrant. Miranda Richardson is outrageously capricious as Elizabeth I, then takes the character a stage further in a decadent space opera future which also sees Patsy (Nursie) Byrne as an android. Though not quite as laugh-out-loud funny as the regular Blackadder
series this is an excellent Yuletide special.
On the DVD: Blackadder's Christmas Carol offers nothing extra on DVD other than the inclusion of optional subtitles. The sound is mono but crystal clear and the 4:3 image is good considering the source material is a TV studio production shot on video. --Gary S Dalkin
Starring: Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Robbie Coltrane, Miranda Richardson, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Patsy Byrne, Miriam Margolyes, Jim Broadbent, Pauline Melville. Directed by: Richard Boden. Dickens' classic tale of kindness, truth and virtue completely mucked up and ruined by having a member of the Blackadder family involved. Also Baldrick, of course, the man you can rely on to turn a Chirstmas dinner into a dog's dinner, as long as the dog isn't particularly fussy. Stuffed with deeply horrid people (many of whom are gigantically fat) and groaning with cartloads of seasonal bottom jokes, it manages to squeeze in not only a Victorian Black Adder but also his famous Elizabethan, Regency and Space Age relatives into a huge pie of entertainment that will satisfy all but the most discriminating viewers. DVD Extras: Scene selection.