The Many Faces of Ebenezer Scrooge
Christopher Frayling explores how Charles Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol has endured in popular culture for over 170 years.
Victorian families sat around the fire to read Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, published in 1843, over the festive season. It became an annual ritual. Now we might sit around the TV and watch It's A Wonderful Life - an Americanised version of the story.
In between, there have been countless takes on the book - adapted for public readings, radio, television, film and stage. Cultural historian and writer Christopher Frayling considers how this short novel has shaped Christmas as we know it today, and discusses the circumstances in which it was written.
Hearing from Dickens performers Simon Callow and Miriam Margolyes, as well as historians and fans, Christopher examines how the book's potent mixture of nostalgia, social concern and celebration has become part of the cultural bloodstream.
He assesses versions starring everyone from Alastair Sim to the Muppets, via Blackadder and the Goons, getting to the very heart of Ebenezer Scrooge.
Dickens wrote of his novel, "may it haunt your house pleasantly". It has done so - in ways he could not have imagined - for over 170 years.
Producer: Jane Long
A Hidden Flack production for BBC Radio 4.