Eddie Scrooge (Ross Kemp) is a loan shark who works in a poor, inner-city estate, and routinely takes advantage of his less than fortunate clients. Christmas Eve sees him taking a television away from a young mother who has fallen behind on her payments, harassing an elderly couple for the two extra pounds that they owe him, and ignoring the mother of his recently deceased partner, who just wants to know the circumstances behind his untimely death. His beleaguered work colleague Bob Cratchett (Michael Maloney) is being kept from spending some much needed time with his sick son, Tim, who is in hospital with cystic fibrosis, by Eddie insisting that they need to work on Christmas.
But then Eddie is visited by his old partner Jacob Marley (Ray Fearon), who warns Eddie that he needs to change his ways, and that he will be visited by three spirits; the ghost of Christmas Past, who appears as Eddie's father (Warren Mitchell), the ghost of Christmas Present who appears as Marley himself, who claims he's pulling double duty as Christmas Eve is the busiest night of the year for spirits, and the ghost of Christmas Future, who appears to Eddie as a mysterious young boy who looks somewhat familiar.
One difference between this adaptation and others is that Eddie Scrooge is caught in a "Groundhog Day" Loop, and repeats the same Christmas Eve until he's finally able to put things right.
This film provides examples of:
- Ascended Extra:
- In the original novel, Scrooge is shown two metaphorical children named Ignorance and Want, representing the plight of the poor. In this version, Eddie Scrooge has visions of two actual street children freezing to death in an alley, and one of the components to him achieving his salvation is to find and rescue them before they perish.
- Marley ends up pulling double duty as the ghost of Christmas Present.
- Black Dude Dies First: Jacob Marley.
- Creepy Child: The final spirit. Turns out to be Scrooge's son.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: After the second visitation, Eddie tries to help various people through simply shoving money at them, not realising it is the nature of the giving that's important.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Eddie's widowed father in the Past sequence.
- Establishing Character Moment: We first see Eddie all but barging his way into one of his client's flat, unplugging her television set, reminding her that she still owes him money as he carries it out, past her crying children. He then drops it from a great height so that he can't even sell it to make up the money that she owes him, just to make a point.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Eddie lives the same Christmas Eve four times, his behavior changing each time, until his final redemption.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Eddie wears a black leather jacket.
- Hospital Hottie: Eddie's ex-girlfriend Bella is a nurse.
- I Can Change My Beloved: Discussed and subverted. Bella believed this during most of her relationship with Eddie, but gave up and left him. Her friend compares her former attitude to an abused wife's, and begs her not to take Eddie back. When he makes a show of compassion to impress her after the Ghost of Christmas Present sequence, she sees right through him and walks away. It's not until he commits a genuine act of altruism (bringing the children to the hospital without caring if Bella was watching), that she agrees to take him back.
- Loan Shark: Eddie Scrooge
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Eddie got his start beating up his classmates and taking their money, blaming his alcoholic father for his inability to provide for him and his sister.
- Setting Update:
- The setting is now a British inner-city estate, in the early 2000s.
- Ebenezer is given the more modern name of Edward/Eddie, and Belle is renamed as Bella.
- Television Portal: Eddie's father, in the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past, climbs out of the TV to talk to him.