The set-up for A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong sees the fictional Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society attempt to get themselves back on the BBC but hijacking a live dramatisation of A Christmas Carol starring Derek Jacobi as Scrooge. Taking over the role of Scrooge is Chris (Henry Shields) who sees himself as slightly better than the rest of the group and feels himself superior to Robert (Henry Lewis) who also wanted the leading role. The feud between Chris and Robert, with the former's assertion that he'd only give up the role of Scrooge if he were incapacitated is the basis of one of the show's running gags. Another brilliant joke is that Jonathan (Greg Tannahill) has once again forgotten all his words and so his lines have to be written on various props during his portrayal of Bob Cratchitt. Alongside Jacobi, the other famous face in A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong is Diana Rigg who agrees to narrate the play as her niece Sandra (Charlie Russell) is one of the players. We also learn, via footage from a party that is accidentally played over the green screen software, that Charlie is going to dump her boyfriend Max (Dave Hearn) once the production is over and later at the same party we see her smooching Chris. Just like last year's offering, A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong is a brilliant farce where the jokes come thick and fast thanks to props malfunctioning and actors forced into playing other roles. I personally thought that the show was one of the funniest comedies of the years and I found myself laughing consistently throughout the piece. One element of the show that I didn't feel was needed was laughter from a studio audience as it took away from the authenticity of this being a live performance of A Christmas Carol that had been hijacked. Furthermore, I felt at times that the story was a little rushed and given another ten or so minutes the Mischief Theatre Company could have provided even more laughs. But these are minor quibbles for a show that I believe should have had much more of a prominent position in the festive schedules. After two strong specials I hope that we get to see the Cornley Polytechnic invade our screens every December and I'd like to see these shows become a permanent fixture of the Christmas schedules.Matt, The Custard TV, 6th January 2018
Last Christmas the Mischief Threatre Comnpany they staged a delightfully silly version of Peter Pan, but this year's attempt, A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong (BBC1), was dragged under by the weight of its own jokes.
The set-up, which had the pranksters kidnapping Sir Derek Jacobi during a 'live TV production' of Scrooge, was far too convoluted. So was the dialogue, which included great slabs lifted from Dickens.
The running gags didn't so much run as limp. There was very little to take the audience by surprise: most of the jokes announced themselves in advance by telegram.
With Dame Diana Rigg narrating, it was a starry affair, and the cast never lacked energy. They flung themselves at every pratfall.
But there was no need to make it so complicated. Sometimes, a custard pie is just a custard pie.Christopher Stevens, Daily Mail, 1st January 2018
"We're desperate to have people know the characters more... Once you get into that world where the audience know the characters and they know what they're doing then you can start having a huge amount more fun."Susanna Lazarus, Radio Times, 30th December 2017