The Man Who Invented Christmas is an upcoming film that will see Dan Stevens, of Downton Abbey fame, depict one of the most impressive figures in literary history, Charles Dickens. “It was a really spooky, intriguing, funny piece,” says Dan Stevens of the movie written by Susan Coyne (Slings and Arrows and The Best Laid Plans), which is, in itself, an adaptation of author and historian Les Standiford’s book of the same name.

The film, which also features Jonathan Pryce in the role of Dickens’ father, John Dickens, and Christopher Plummer in the role of Dickens’ most inscrutable character, Ebenezer Scrooge, promises to offer a dynamic adaptation of the much loved classic.

Christmas be the thing that unites them!

Set in 1843, the film launches Dickens’ story at a point of real suffering and financial difficulty. The film shows how different circumstances (like being rejected by his publisher) inspired Dickens to write and self-publish A Christmas Carol: a text that not only rescued his career, but influenced the advancement of modern western celebrations of the holiday, in an age where people desperately needed their spirits renewed – largely the result of the Industrial Revolution.

Set on Christmas Eve, Dickens’ A Christmas Carol centres on the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, who, visited by the ghost of his business partner Jacob Marley, and guided by three ghostly spirits – symbolic manifestations representing Christmas past, present and yet to come – sets off on a journey to find love, redemption, and a renewal of his Christmas spirit.

Although fully committed to the Christmassy brand of Dickens’ much loved classic, this new adaptation promises to offer audiences a fresh, new perspective on Dickens’ universe; director Bharat Nalluri’s The Man Who Invented Christmas promises to discover the real author behind the celebrity mask. “Particularly in England, Dickens is placed on a pedestal.

But the guy was, at turns, quite playful and childish, and, at turns, quite dark”, explains Dan Stevens.

But who is Charles Dickens: the man behind the mask?

Charles Dickens was considered by many to be the greatest writer of the Victorian era, but his was very much a rags to riches story. Having had the opportunity to attend school at a very young age, his joy was soon cut-short when his father was sent to prison for debt related crimes and he was forced to leave school.

Although he later became a successful journalist, writing for ‘The Mirror of Parliament’ and famous ‘Pickwick Papers’, these early experiences continued to haunt Dickens for the rest of his life.

These experiences also inspired his deep and personal resentment and outrage for the many economic and social abuses of the Nineteenth-century. This outrage can be seen in his earliest works Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and especially A Christmas Carol; with its grand narrative, vibrant characters and extraordinary depiction of Victorian life. The sheer number of adaptations that have followed the publication of A Christmas Carol is testament to the enduring quality and appeal of Dickens’ writing.