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Viewers Complain BBC's A Christmas Carol Is Too 'Mumbly' To Understand

Viewers Complain BBC's A Christmas Carol Is Too 'Mumbly' To Understand

The first episode of the Dickens adaptation was aired last night, but many viewers couldn't tell what was going on

Jake Massey

Jake Massey

On paper, a new Christmas Carol miniseries has all the ingredients to make an absolutely delicious festive treat.

It's written by Peaky Blinders' Steven Knight, executive produced by Tom Hardy and Ridley Scott, stars Stephen Graham and Andy Serkis, and is of course based on the classic Charles Dickens novella.

However, none of that means anything if you can't tell what anyone is saying.

This was the criticism levelled at the show by many viewers, with one person even saying they turned down the volume and tried lip reading instead.

Taking to Twitter, one viewer said: "Well done BBC you've done it again... mumbling in Christmas Carol. Turned up volume so deafened, turned down and trying to lip read."

Another said: "Once again the BBC don't know how to record sound, or hire actors that can talk without mumbling... Volume turned way up."

A third added: "Sorry BBC but I couldn't stick with this adaptation. Could barely hear the sound, the Jacob Marley scenes were unnecessary and Cratchit unconvincing. Bored after 15 minutes in. Keep it tight and spare."


Many viewers thought A Christmas Carol was too 'mumbly'.

As well as the 'mumbly' criticism, there were actually quite a lot of people who thought it was boring too.

One person said: "How can the BBC have made such a brilliant story so boring?"

Another said: "New BBC adaptation of A Christmas Carol is awful. Not scary, not funny, not sad, but boring and as usual ticks all the required boxes for diversity no matter how incongruous. Muppets did it better."

A third added: "Bit slow. And why doesn't the Beeb employ decent sound recordists?"

But if you were quite looking forward to watching it, you shouldn't necessarily let the accusations of the general public put you off.

Guardian TV critic Lucy Mangan certainly didn't seem to struggle to understand what people were saying, giving the first episode a five-star review.

She said: "The system, says this rich, clever, funny and courageous adaptation, implicates us all. It's not the kind we're used to, but it's as fine a distillation of the wider Christmas message - and the wider concerns that animated Dickens in his weightier tales - as you could hope to see."

So even better than the Muppets version then?

The second episode is on tonight (Monday) at 9.05pm and the third and final episode is on Christmas Eve at 9pm.

The BBC declined to comment on the complaints.

Featured Image Credit: Robert Viglasky/FX/BBC/Scott Free

Topics: TV and Film, UK Entertainment