Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I recounted how I learned to stop worrying and love The Great British Baking Show. Tina enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, including descriptions of British meals. Jean got something different in A Child From the Sea than she expected, but liked it anyway. Gaele reviewed the audio version of The Abbot’s Tale by Conn Iggulden, a story from tenth-century Britain.
I watched The Man Who Invented Christmas last summer but I was determined to see it again during the season. It’s even more fun to enjoy the beloved characters of A Christmas Carol as they come alive in Charles Dickens’ imagination and on screen.Christopher Plummer’s Ebenezer Scrooge is both grumpy and wise. Donald Sumpter’s Jacob Marley is creepier than any manifestation I’ve seen of that character. Justin Edwards plays Dickens’ long-suffering friend John Forster who acts as a kind of cheer leader and literary agent in this story. Miles Jupp is a hoot as a trouble-making William Makepeace Thackeray. Both Dan Stevens (Charles Dickens) and Jonathan Pryce (Charles’ father) gave us complicated characters with guilt, anger, and defensiveness alongside forgiveness and love.
Don’t worry; there are female characters, too.
Morfydd Clark plays the loving, and occasionally exasperated, wife of Charles Dickens. I’m looking forward to seeing her in another Dickens story. The Personal History of David Copperfield wrapped up filming months ago but I can’t find a release date. I’ve been excited about that film since I learned that Dev Patel would play the title character. Morfydd Clark will be lovely as Dora Spenlow.
Anna Murphy doesn’t have a Wikipedia page yet, but I thought she was delightful as the Dickens’ Irish maid who entertained the children with ghost stories and served as a sounding board for Charles while he struggled with his story.
The settings give us Victorian London in a suitably stylized way, given that the characters of A Christmas Carol wander among them just like the historical people. My favorite spot, visited several times in the movie, was an idealized Hatchards, London’s oldest bookshop. Hatchards shows up in pretty much every Regency novel that features any character that loves books, which is quite a lot of them since writers tend to love books. Hatchards plays a pivotal role in the plot of The Man Who Invented Christmas.
Happy Christmas and God bless us, everyone!