Christmas Carole 2022 TV REVIEW


Christmas Carole 2022, starring Suranne Jones, is a hilarious modern take on the Charles Dickens classic, writes GEMMA JOHNSON

Christmas Carole 2022

TITLE: Christmas Carole
24 December 2022 on Sky TV
DIRECTOR: Ian Fitzgibbon
CAST: Suranne Jones, Jo Brand, Mark Benton, Taj Atwal

Review of Christmas Carole 2022

I know what you are thinking – another version of A Christmas Carol – groan!

As much as this is a classical Christmas ghost story, I think we can all agree that it has been overdone… just a little bit.

But how exactly do you make a Victorian classic have a fresh and modern feel? Add lots of humour, mix in a dash of irony, sprinkle in some sarcasm, and serve up a fast-paced, witty comedy. Enjoy with a warm drink and a mince pie (dollop of cream on the side, optional).

Suranne Jones stars as Carole in this TV movie, which aired on Sky Christmas Eve 2022. There is a strong cast behind her, including Jo Brand (Ghost of Christmas Past), Bobbie Singh (Cratchet) and Mark Benton (Leon Carole’s dad).

Huge brownie points from me straight from the get-go – it is really refreshing to see the ‘Scrooge’ and ‘Cratchet’ characters being played by women because in most versions of A Christmas Carol, these roles are played by men. In a world where we are moving towards greater equality, it was brilliant to see this being put into play here and reflected generally within the superb diversity of the cast.

From the start, it is very obvious that this is not going to be a typical – perhaps one could even say cliche – adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Early on, Carole’s brother presents Carole with a copy of the Dickins book, and this adds much humour to the events that follow as Carole tries to predict what is coming next. Bobbie’s brother is called Tim. Carole is horrified and becomes fixated on him being unwell and dying: “Oh god, it’s his legs, isn’t it? Look how he is walking.” Side note: Tim is perfectly healthy.

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I have to confess; this is the first ‘Scrooge’ character that I haven’t loathed. I actually loved the fierce, no-nonsense nature of Carole at the start. Yes, she was mean. I am not mean (I don’t think anyway), but aside from that, she is queen of her empire, has a clear vision, and is somewhat relatable to humans.

Our ghosts are not typical ghosts; we have Morecambe and Wise as Christmas past, Jo Brand wielding a golden toilet brush as Christmas present, and Nish Kumar, an Uber-style driver, as Christmas yet to come. The transitions were seamless, and what I enjoyed about the ghosts was that they featured more than once. Carole sees them at the end as the penny drops, and she realises what she needs to do to make things right.

Witty humour aside, there are deeper messages here. Carole is the owner of a Christmas ‘tat’ business producing disposable novelties that likely end up in landfills before the New Year. There are conversations here about corporate greed and sustainable products that will really make you think about the novelty red reindeer antlers you have just bought off Amazon.

It also makes you think about the true meaning of Christmas, and I don’t mean this in a religious sense; I mean in the sense of taking time out to be with family. There is a thread of family throughout the film as Carole looks back on her childhood experiences, specifically the relationship that she has with her dad, which is tense and difficult.

She blames him for her mother’s leaving; she places her on a pedestal, and Dad can’t compete with Mum’s heroic status – well in Carole’s eyes anyway. As Carole goes on her journey with the different ghosts, we see the realities her dad was faced with and the decisions he made.  As a grownup now, it really makes you think back to your childhood and the battles you may have had with your own parents.

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The film also seemed to cross over and pay homage to another Christmas film, The Grinch. We see Carole’s family watching The Grinch rummage through bags of rubbish in his cave. We then move over to Carole, emerging from a pile of rubbish bags in the alleyway. Just like the Grinch, Carole does change her ways, but she doesn’t lose her ‘edge’; she is still fierce, but not in a destroying Christmas kind of way.

The takeaway messages from this film are that Christmas isn’t about ‘things’; it’s about the memories, and if you are lucky enough to have your parents on this side of the spirit world, go and see them if you can, or at least give them a call; they will appreciate it more than you realise.

Oh, and my resolution is to somewhat channel my inner Carole as I approach the new year – without the meanness, of course!

Tell us your thoughts about Christmas Carole 2022 in the comments section below!

Watch Christmas Carole 2022 Trailer


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