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Film / A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong

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It goes hilariously downhill from here.

"I would have to be completely incapacitated to pull out now!"
Chris, after Robert demands that the latter play Scrooge instead

A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong is a Christmas Special produced by the Mischief Theatre Company for the BBC. It is Mischief Theatre's first production made specifically for television.

Following on from the disaster that was Peter Pan Goes Wrong the previous year (2016), the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society have been banned from ever appearing on the BBC.

Undeterred, the crew sneaks into BBC Studios and forcibly hijacks a production of A Christmas Carol starring Sir Derek Jacobi, and try their best to put on a good show. Unfortunately, however, things go wrong from the get go.

This film was followed by The Goes Wrong Show.


This Christmas Special provides examples of:

  • Acting for Two: invoked In-show examples.
    • Robert plays the Ghost of Christmas Future, a manservant, Tiny Tim and Scrooge (after Chris gives up).
    • Annie plays Frances, the Ghost of Christmas Past and one of the people mocking Scrooge’s death..
    • Max plays the undertaker, a charity collector, young Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Present and a mourner.
    • Sandra plays a pallbearer, a charity collector, Belle and Mrs Cratchit.
  • As Himself:
    • Derek Jacobi plays himself playing Scrooge.
    • Diana Rigg narrates the show as a favor to Sandra, her niece.
  • Adapted Out: In-show examples:
    • Scrooge's childhood and his apprenticeship with Fezziwig are skipped, so characters from those scenes (such as Scrooge's teacher and sister) are cut.
    • Though it's confirmed through dialogue that the Cratchits do have several children, Tiny Tim is the only one to actually appear.
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    • The scene where an undertaker, a laundress and a charwoman sell Scrooge’s possessions to Old Joe is left out.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: After his Heel Realization, Chris finally submits and lets Robert play Scrooge. When Derek Jacobi reappears and confronts his replacement, Robert quickly tries to trade back.
  • Behind the Black: As all the bells in Scrooge's house ring at once, the camera pans to the left to show a crew member ringing a bunch of bells before panning back to Scrooge.
  • Brick Joke: Chris states the only thing that would allow him to hand the role of Scrooge to Robert is if he (Chris) was completely incapacitated. Derek Jacobi says the same thing shortly before he is hit by Diana Rigg's car.
  • Buried Alive: This happens to Jonathan, in the opening funeral scene, as he's playing the body of Jacob Marley.
  • Canon Foreigner: The charity workers bring an orphan with them to show Scrooge the type of people that are in need of donations.
  • Car Fu: At the end, Diana Rigg arrives, crashing through the set walls and hitting Derek Jacobi with her car. He survives, but is completely incapacitated.
  • Catchphrase: Robert says "Humbug!" when trying to sabotage Chris. As well "Oh dear, he's completely incapacitated!"
  • Chekhov's Gun: Annie accidentally gets her hand glued onto a prop flintlock pistol at the beginning of the production and it comes in handy towards the end.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Chris says that the only way Robert will get to play Ebenezer Scrooge is if he, Chris, was completely incapacitated. Cue Robert coming up with increasingly bizarre ways to try and injure Chris, with the latter seizing acting methods to retaliate more than once.
  • The Comically Serious: The cast tries to play it straight even when ridiculous things keep happening.
  • Crosscast Role: invoked In-show example. Lucy (a girl) plays Tiny Tim. Averted after Robert takes over as Tiny Tim.
  • Cue Card Pause: Dennis can't remember his lines, forcing them to be written on everything around him, and the play screeches to a halt whenever he has to stop and hunt for his lines on-set.
  • Dead to Begin With: Jacob Marley is supposed to be this, but Jonathan keeps moving around while portraying the corpse.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Lucy, who had a small but pivotal role in Peter Pan Goes Wrong, only has two very brief scenes in this special.
    • Jonathan previously played Peter Pan but plays the much smaller role of Jacob Marley in this special as well as various walk on roles.
  • Desecrating the Dead: After Marley's coffin shatters, Scrooge and the undertaker kick him into the grave.
  • The Ditz: Dennis is on fine form, when reading from a coin with the sides labelled “yes” and “no”.
    Sandra: You’d give all you have to charity?
    Dennis: No.
    Sandra: No? You don’t want to give to charity?
    Dennis: Yes.
    Sandra: Are you sure?
    Dennis: (now confused) No.
    Chris: You’ve got to make a choice. Make a choice. Will you give them the coin?
    (Dennis flips the coin and reads the response) Yes.
  • Dull Surprise: After knocking Lucy out whilst attempting to replace Chris as Scrooge, Robert quickly has to replace her as Tiny Tim. He reads his part from the script in a dull monotone and prompts an Oh, Crap! moment when Dennis realises he is supposed to lift him in his arms.
    • Made all the more funny when he is lifted (well, dragged) along the floor, letting out a flat "Whee."
  • The Eeyore: The Ghost of Christmas Present is utterly miserable at first thanks to off-stage drama.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Scrooge consistently fails to notice Jacob Marley is just behind him.
  • Feathered Fiend: Robert uses the green screen and a prop bird to attack Scrooge as he flies with the Ghost of Christmas Past.
  • Funny Background Event: Several funny events happen in the background, such as props being damaged or set members trying to fix things.
  • Gender Flip: In-show examples:
    • Scrooge's nephew, Fred, is changed to his niece "Frances" as a result of her being played by Annie.
    • One of the Portly Gentlemen is a woman.
  • Heel Realization: Chris's Character Development mirrors Scrooge's as he plays him. He starts out the special about as mean and abusive towards his colleagues as he's ever been — but just as Scrooge begins realizing how mean he's been, so does Chris begin to realize what an unfriendly and selfish jerk he's let himself become. During Scrooge's climactic redemption in the future, Chris breaks down and turns it into a personal apology for how he's treated his co-workers.
  • Hostile Show Takeover:
    • Derek Jacobi isn't even finished with his opening monologue when the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society sneaks onto the set and ambushes the BBC crew, even using violence to take over the control room.
    • Robert attempts to engage in this throughout the production as he wants to play Scrooge but Chris will only give up the role if he is completely incapacitated.
  • Implacable Man: Derek Jacobi is depicted as an unstoppable force of nature to the point where sedating him and locking him in a coffin only slows him down.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong:
    • As the narrator says no weather could affect Scrooge nor wintry wind chill him, the snowblower gets turned on at full blast and knocks him over as he begs for it to stop.
    • Sandra decides the lesson everyone learned today is that it doesn't matter who plays Scrooge. Derek Jacobi retorts that he's learned it absolutely matters.
  • Ironic Name: When played by Robert, Tiny Tim is anything but tiny.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: This creates problems when Marley's chains are so heavy they drag him out the window and smash through the floor.
  • Jitter Cam: Once the cast leaves the set to go shopping the video quality turns into this until they get back.
  • The Klutz: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come keeps banging its head on things, crashing into things, and falling over.
  • The Other Darrin: invoked In-show examples:
    • Scrooge is at first played by Derek Jacobi, but is then replaced by Chris, then Robert, then back to Chris.
    • Lucy starts off playing Tiny Tim. She is then replaced by Robert, but returns to deliver a line at the end.
  • Overly Long Gag: Frances trying to get out the door while glued to a chair and the first green screen failure run so long it's hilarious after a certain point.
  • Reality Subtext: In-universe.
    • Once the footage of Dennis's birthday party is aired and the entire cast is angry at one another, especially Chris, he uses Scrooge's redemption scene to apologize and make amends with his friends in real life as well as the characters.
    • Belle's breakup scene is given more weight with the revelation that Sandra was apparently planning on leaving Max, who plays young Scrooge. This also results in the Ghost of Christmas Present, also played by Max, being anything but jolly at first.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: After the Drama Society takes over the BBC, the title of "A Christmas Carol" is spelt wrongly. After a couple of failed attempts to fix this, whoever was doing the title gives up and just types on-screen "Scrooge".
  • Running Gag: The increasingly ridiculous places that Dennis' lines are written on.
  • Special Effects Failure: invoked The CPDS clearly doesn't have the budget to put together proper special effects and the ones they can afford go badly. Such as the giant nose they create to provide scale for the Ghost of Christmas Past, which they lose control of, causing the ropes and crew to pop into frame.
  • Sticky Situation: Annie gets glued to a prop pistol, the orphan's hair, and to her chair.
  • Stock Footage Failure: invoked The computer used for the green screen effects goes on the fritz, resulting in the background jumping from what was intended, to the program's stock demonstration, to video from Dennis' birthday party (leading to some of the cast's personal drama being aired out in public).
  • Terrible Ticking: Scrooge's opening monologue has him bedeviled by a clock and its chimes, feeling it's always staring at him.
  • Trash the Set: One of the first things that happens is Marley's coffin shattering. The set only gets more wrecked from there.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Sandra interrupts the end credits to pop the question to Max, then Diana Rigg drives into the studio to help give him the ring.