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A Christmas Carol star Guy Pearce: 'My Scrooge has swagger!'

Guy Pearce in A Christmas Carol
Guy Pearce in A Christmas Carol (Image credit: BBC/Scott Free/FX Networks)

Guy Pearce reveals all about offering a fresh take on Ebenezer Scrooge in BBC1’s A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’ masterpiece A Christmas Carol is being brought to life once more in BBC1’s haunting adaptation starring Guy Pearce as miserly Ebenezer Scrooge.

The three-part adaptation, penned by Peaky Blinders writer Steven Knight, sees the ghost of Scrooge’s former business partner Jacob Marley (Line of Duty’s Stephen Graham) urge him to repent his crimes and warn him that he will be visited by three more spirits.

Can the Ghost of Christmas Past (Andy Serkis), the Ghost of Christmas Present (Charlotte Riley) and the Ghost of Christmas Future (Jason Flemyng) make him see the error of his ways?

Here, Guy Pearce tells us about playing Scrooge in A Christmas Carol...

How do you see Scrooge?

Guy Pearce: “It has steered away from what I knew Scrooge to be. Rather than this bitter, twisted character who just hates everyone and hates Christmas, we wanted a character who has bravado and swagger. It’s not until you drill down that you see this guy has been through a rough time.”

Stephen Graham as Marley in A Christmas Carol

Stephen Graham as Marley in A Christmas Carol (Image credit: BBC/Scott Free/FX Networks)

What relationship do we see between him and the ghosts?

GP: “Christmas Past sets up the journey. He has an extreme nature and there are various characters he morphs into. Because our Scrooge has a tough exterior it takes a good battering to soften him up. Christmas Present is Scrooge’s dead sister and for her to reappear in Scrooge’s life is moving. And there’s the frightening nature of the silent Christmas Future.”

Do you believe in ghosts?

GP: “I don’t believe I’ve been visited by one. Although there have been strange things where you think, ‘How has that happened?’  I believe in the spirit world and the energy that inhabits us still exists when we die and reappears in other forms. I’m happy to believe there are mysterious things at work that we can’t quite put our finger on.”

MORE: The best Christmas films and when they're on this festive season

Are you a fan of Christmas?

GP: “Christmas is funny because I’ve become more of a Scrooge myself! I But now I have a three-year-old, I’m having to think about cultivating a Christmassy spirit for my little boy. My sister at home in Australia loves Christmas so it’s held there and we have a lovely time. It’s hot so I feel like I’m on holiday.”

A Christmas Carol airs on BBC1 from Sunday 22 December at 9pm, Monday 23 December at 9.05pm and Tuesday 24 December at 9pm

Caren has been a journalist specializing in TV for almost two decades and is a Senior Features Writer for TV Times, TV & Satellite Week and What’s On TV magazines and she also writes for What to Watch.


Over the years, she has spent many a day in a muddy field or an on-set catering bus chatting to numerous stars on location including the likes of Olivia Colman, David Tennant, Suranne Jones, Jamie Dornan, Dame Judi Dench and Sir Derek Jacobi as well as Hollywood actors such as Glenn Close and Kiefer Sutherland.


Caren will happily sit down and watch any kind of telly (well, maybe not sci-fi!), but she particularly loves period dramas like Call the Midwife, Downton Abbey and The Crown and she’s also a big fan of juicy crime thrillers from Line of Duty to Poirot.


In her spare time, Caren enjoys going to the cinema and theatre or curling up with a good book.