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Simon Callow in A Christmas Carol photo: RAN Studio

A Christmas Carol, binaurally

Based on the performances of A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens himself gave throughout the UK and America, Simon Callow’s one-man show embodies the very heart of this beloved holiday classic.

The stage-to-film adaption, reimagined especially for the screen, is available on BBC iPlayer with binaural sound.

Simon Callow and director and director Tom Cairns have created a moving, funny and fast-paced one-man televisual spectacular that is both heart-warming and deeply moving.

Ghosts of past, present and future

Dickens takes us on a man’s astonishing journey through his past, present and (terrifying) future, led by his three ghostly guides. Will Ebenezer Scrooge, tight-fisted, cruel and bitter, finally re-join the human race and learn to embrace the true generous and humble spirit of Christmas?

From the miser’s dank and creaking house filled with shadows to cosy hearths, from stark graveyards to joyful festivities, this treasured story offers a celebration of goodness, a plea for justice and the promise of redemption.

Simon Callow plays 38 different characters

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is one of the most beloved books in the English language and has become a classic Christmas tale for generations of grown-ups and children alike. Brought to life by the magnificent Simon Callow, who plays 38 different characters from the book, this is a Christmas must see.

The film also features binaural elements, blending live sounds with immersive audio recordings, reworking this iconic story to create a ground-breaking immersive binaural performance. Viewers can enjoy the full binaural experience using headphones when watching the film on BBC iPlayer, where it will be available for a month following its transmission on 16 December.

Simon Callow said: 

“When Tom Cairns and I started working on our one-man version of A Christmas Carol, we were very excited by the possibilities of putting the audience in direct contact with Dickens, who is even more than in his other books, vividly present as a narrator: he climbs into your head, he is always by your side, the master conjuror and also the commentator. As we worked on the show, right from the beginning we saw that it might make a wonderful film, quite different from the stage show, drawing the viewer even more closely into contact with the story-teller, and using the matchless poetic resources of the camera to summon up the many worlds through which Dickens takes us and the miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. Shot entirely in an abandoned warehouse, it takes the viewer indoors and outdoors, through the seasons and across the haunted city of London. The theatre version is pure theatre, the film proving how phenomenally rich this favourite of all Christmas stories is.”

Don't forget your headphones!

Viewers can enjoy the full binaural experience using headphones when watching the film via BBC iPlayer.

The film was first broadcast on BBC FOUR on Sunday 16 December at 10pm (an available on iPlayer for 30 days)

BBC Arts Online takes a look at where the idea from Scrooge came from.