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Today, my 8 days of quarantine over, and showing negative results, I am on the road again, driving to Lewes Delaware to perform to an enormous audience in a huge auditorium – nothing like starting small and gently working back up to full strength, is there? My throat is still a little tender from much coughing, but I have been rehearsing in the cabin and all seems well – wish me luck!

So, as I get back to normal, it is time to put you out of your misery and post the answers to the quiz questions – well done to anyone who got a full house!

A Christmas Carol Quiz

1: How many ghosts visit Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve?

The secret to this question is in the exact wording. The answer is not 4, or even 3.  The correct answer is 1 – Marley’s Ghost, for all of the others come after midnight, and therefore on Christmas Day.  You could say that in the unabridged text Ebenezer looks out of his window and sees the sky filled with phantoms, but they didn’t strictly come to visit him, so my official answer stays at 1.

2: In what region of London do the Cratchit family live?

Camden Town.  This was the same region that the Dickens family lived in when Charles was a young boy. His father was imprisoned for debt, thereby showing him what poverty was really like.

3: What is the name of Scrooge’s nephew’s flirtatious friend?

Topper – ‘Well Hellloooooo. Ding Dong!’

4: What was the name of the young clerk who worked alongside a young Ebenezer at Mr Fezziwig’s?

Dick Wilkins.  Just as an aside, when young Charles worked in the blacking warehouse, pasting labels on pots of shoe blacking, he worked alongside a boy named Bob Fagin.  He took both names and used them for characters in later works.

Bah! Humbug!  All of the answers in this section have the initials BH

1: What is the name of Charles Dickens’s 9th full length novel, in which he satirises the legal industry?

Bleak House, published in 20 monthly instalments between 1852-53, and featuring the never ending court case of Jarndyce V Jarndyce

2: The name of a schoolmaster in Our Mutual Friend

Bradley Headtsone.  ‘There was a kind of settled trouble in the face. It was the face belonging to a naturally slow or inattentive intellect that had toiled hard to get what it had won, and that had to hold it now that it was gotten.’

3: Where Charles Dickens’ ship moored on his 1867 trip to the USA and from where he travelled to the Parker House Hotel (and maybe enjoyed a cup of tea….)

Boston Harbor (I of course use the American spelling)

4: A particularly poor yard in London, described in Little Dorrit

Bleeding Heart Yard.  Dickens describes the area as ‘ a place much changed in feature and in fortune, yet with some relish of ancient greatness about it. Two or three mighty stacks of chimneys, and a few large dark rooms which had escaped being walled and subdivided out of the recognition of their old proportions, gave the Yard a character. It was inhabited by poor people, who set up their rest among its faded glories, as Arabs of the desert pitch their tents among the fallen stones of the Pyramids; but there was a family sentimental feeling prevalent in the Yard, that it had a character.’

There are many theories as to how the Yard got its name, but one suggests that it commemorates the murder of Lady Elizabeth Hatton. It is said that her body was found here on 27 January 1646, “torn limb from limb, but with her heart still pumping blood.”

A question I am often asked is ‘what is your favourite film version of A Christmas Carol’, and the correct answer has to be the same version as the questioner!  Here are 6 versions, can you tell me the year they were made?  I am giving you the actor who played Scrooge in each case

1: Seymour Hicks                   (1938)

2: Mark McDermot                (1910)

A CHRISTMAS CAROL- (1910) J. Searle Dawley, Marc McDermott, Charles S. Ogle – YouTube

3: George C Scott                    (1984)

4: Albert Finney                      (1970)

5: Alastair Sim                         (1951)

6: Michael Cane                      (1992)

One I didn’t list, because I couldn’t find the actor’s name, but is definitely worth a look is ‘Scrooge’ or ‘Marley’s Ghost’, made in 1901, less than 60 years after the book was published: It only lasts 5 minutes or so, but is a remarkable example of the early years of moving pictures

Scrooge, or Marley’s Ghost (1901) | BFI National Archive – YouTube

To finish off, some questions about the life of Charles Dickens

1:  What year was Dickens born (an important year in British/American relations)


2:  What were CD’s middle names?

His full name was Charles John Huffam Dickens. 

3:  What is the FULL title of his first novel?

The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, Containing a Faithful Record of the Perambulations, Perils, Travels, Adventures and Sporting Transactions of the Corresponding Members

4:  What is the name of the town in the county of Kent where Charles Dickens was involved in a serious train crash (if only there was a book available on this subject…..)

Staplehurst.  Ref. ‘Dickens and Staplehurst. A Biography of a Rail Crash’

Dickens and Staplehurst: A Biography of a Rail Crash: Dickens, Gerald: 9781788308519: Amazon.com: Books

5:  Charles Dickens was interred in Westminster Abbey in London, but where did he want to be buried?

In or near to the precincts of Rochester Cathedral, in Kent.  Rochester had featured in many of his novels, including being the main setting for his final, unfinished one ‘The Mystery of Edwin Drood’.  However, the Dean of Westminster and other influential gentlemen of the time felt that he should be given the honour of being laid in Poets Corner along with other literary greats.