Yesterday I finally got a chance to watch the BBC's 2019 three part adaptation of the Dickens classic which I had been wanting to do for sometime. In particular I wanted to see if the generally chilly reception it got in the UK was justified. And I have to say it was not. If anything, the generally unenthusiastic reviews fall well short of the truth.
This is easily and by far the worst adaptation of the many that I've seen over the years. It wasn't just bad. It was dreadful.
There is almost nothing positive I can say of the miniseries, and that is fairly unusual for me. It was not uplifting. There is no redemption. It bears only a superficial resemblance to Dickens' tale of a miser redeemed, the connection to Christmas being somewhat tangential and with wholesale and very grim departures from the original. This was little more than a social justice warrior attack on capitalism under disguise as a Victorian period horror show. It's so bad (and vulgar) that parents should not allow their children to watch it.
The one and only positive thing I can note of it was the performance by Guy Pearce in the lead role which I thought was credible, given the material he had to work with. But that really is about it. I can't even tell you to watch it for yourself if you don't believe me. It's so long that if I wasn't gripped by the sheer awfulness, and my desire to write a review, I would have never ventured past the first episode.
My bottom line is that this was a political act of cultural vandalism, bordering on violence, against one of the great literary classics of all time, and it is to be avoided. If you can't think of a better use for your time, I suggest counting the blades of grass on your front lawn.
For those seeking better adaptations, my top three recommendations are the 1984 George C Scott, the 1951 Allistair Sim, and the 1970 Albert Finney (musical) versions. All of which were available on YouTube the last time I looked.