Taboo collaborators Steven Knight, Tom Hardy and Ridley Scott are to re-team for a series of Charles Dickens adaptations for the BBC, starting with A Christmas Carol.
A 3 x 60-minute version on the festive classic will form part of BBC1’s 2019 Christmas schedule, with other titles set to form a ‘boxset’ of dramas based on Dickens’ most iconic novels.
Knight, who also created Peaky Blinders, will adapt the stories for Scott’s company Scott Free London and Hardy’s indie Hardy Son and Baker.
A Christmas Carol is one of Dickens’ most adapted works, in both its traditional form and variants and parodies ranging from Blackadder to the Muppets.
The BBC’s last traditional adaptation was in 1977 with Michael Holden taking the lead role of Ebeneezer Scrooge.
The BBC has yet to confirm which other stories will follow, nor how many.
Knight promised that the adaptations would respect the spirit of Dickens’ writing, while offering a fresh spin on their timeless themes.
“Any question about narrative storytelling is answered by Dickens,” he said. To have the chance to revisit the text and interpret in a new way is the greatest privilege. We need luck and wisdom to do this justice.”
Hardy added: “A Christmas Carol is a fabulous, magical piece of theatre and an embarrassment of riches for our creative team – from character all the way through to design. Here’s to having a lot of intricate and wonderful fun. We feel very lucky.”
The adaptations were ordered by BBC Drama controller Piers Wenger, who said: “Steven’s unique ability to reimagine the past and to turn it in to must-see drama makes him the perfect writer to reimagine Dickens’ most famous works for a new generation.”
The multi-year deal echoes last year’s commission of seven Agatha Christie dramas to be co-produced by Agatha Christie Ltd’s production arm, which built on three Mammoth Screen adaptations penned by Sarah Phelps.
BBC1 was due to air the first of the adaptations, Ordeal by Innocence, this Christmas but has pulled it following sexual assault and rape allegations against cast member Ed Westwick.