Tom Baker reads Charles Dickens' timeless seasonal story.
Charles Dickens' story of solitary miser Ebenezer Scrooge, who is taught the true meaning of Christmas by the three ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, has become one of the timeless classics of English literature. First published in 1843, it introduces us not only to Scrooge himself but also to the memorable characters of underpaid desk clerk Bob Cratchit and his poor family, the poorest amongst whom is the ailing and crippled Tiny Tim.
In this new recording, Tom Baker delivers a tour-de-force performance as he narrates the story. The listener joins Scrooge on Christmas Eve, witnesses the visitation of Marley's ghost, and is given a glimpse of the many homes and lives which Scrooge has touched in his wretched life to date. This ultimately uplifting tale is a festive delight to be treasured and listened to again and again.
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An Instant Tradition
Tom Baker's rich, plummy tones are a perfect match for this most popular of all Christmas-themed tales.
It's a tale that can at once send shivers down your spine on a chilly Christmas Eve and make you yearn to celebrate the spirit of the season all year long.
I've heard Baker's interpretation of The Hound of the Baskerville, as well as his participating role in a full-cast presentation of Nicholas Nickleby. I've further enjoyed his quirky new take on his most famous role, Dr. Who, in BBC Radio's Nest Cottage series of stories. And I've also heard his more-traditional take on the role in the latest Big Finish 4th Doctor adventures.
Baker has always been, and remains, a masterful narrator. The only other actors I can think of who can offer any challenge to him (IMHO) are RSC stalwarts Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan and Derek Jacobi. Not bad company to keep! This latest performance continues his impeccable standards of audio narration.
Few romantics can fail to be moved by the scene in which the old miser watches his younger self allow the girl that he once loved - and his best chance for a truly meaningful and happy life - walk out of his live forever, with the heart-breaking words... "for love of him you once were."
I'm a big Dickens fan who has made The Christmas Carol a part of my holiday season every year since I was 18. I've read the novella many times over the intervening years and regularly look to incorporate new takes of the tale into each Christmas. I always try to watch at least one screen adaptation each year also.
In recent years I've tried to make time to squeeze in at least one other Dickens Christmas tale each year. I highly recommend the short story "The Goblins Who Stole a Sexton" which shares many themes with The Carol. But Cricket on the Hearth, A Christmas Tree and The Chimes are also favorites. The Signalman is an unrelated ghostly tale that seems - for no good reason - to fit the season well.
I'm looking forward to sharing this excellent and evocative new audio adaptation with my family and hope that it becomes a part of many Christmases to come. Thanks for this early Christmas present!
Tom Baker Brings New Life to Old Xmas Chestnut
Definitely. While I respect "A Christmas Carol" as a major cultural influence, it has never been one of my favorite Christmas stories. Tom Baker's narration makes it much more enjoyable for me.
In the '70s and '80s Tom Baker narrated a few ghost stories and abridged sci-fi classics like "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." Anyone who has heard those will find that his narration style has not changed. He has a theatrical delivery that fits the Victorian text (portions of which Dickens himself performed to audiences).
It's so alive! This is not a clipped, "proper" reading of a classic, but a living text. Baker's voice is rich and plummy, with different tones for different characters and a lot of enthusiasm both in happy moments and chilling reveals. This is truly a performance, as if a favorite uncle came over for Christmas and started reading you the story.
I was surprised by the material in "A Christmas Carol" which doesn't get adapted by most filmmakers (we've all seen multiple TV or movie versions, right?). My favorite is when the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge on a tour of London and reveals to him the two children under his robes: the boy, Ignorance, and the girl, Want. "Beware them both, but most of all - beware this boy!"
I haven't read "A Christmas Carol" in over a decade because the story has never been a favorite. I'm so pleased I took a chance on this audiobook and reacquainted myself. I would recommend this performance to anyone.
- Sarah Hadley