With Christmas fast approaching, it won't be long before you find yourself sitting down to watch one of the many, many versions of A Christmas Carol, and maybe having a very seasonal argument about which version is best. Through the seemingly endless success of his yuletide story, written quickly to pay for his own Christmas shopping, Charles Dickens has become indelibly associated with our Christmas celebrations. But, of course, there's a great deal more to him than that. Following my countdown of the ten best screen adaptations of Shakespeare, today I'm going to be going through the hundreds of Dickens adaptations, giving you a Top 10 to enjoy both during this festive season and all year round. There are a great deal more TV entries on this list than on my Shakespeare countdown, but that's more a reflection of Dickens' episodic storytelling than of a paucity of good film adaptations. Besides, TV shows are no longer the poor relation of feature films on a production level, with many looking as good if not better than contemporary Hollywood fare. As with my Shakespeare article, there are a number of ground rules to be observed. Each of Dickens' novels or short stories can only appear once: if not it would quickly descend into a Top 10 Christmas Carols, which sounds too boring to contemplate. Pastiches or parodies are not included, nor are speculative works such as the numerous attempts to finish The Mystery of Edwin Drood. We are also not including stories in which Dickens himself features as a fictional character: as good as that Doctor Who episode was, it is not an original Dickens work and therefore cannot be included. So, having endured those hard times, let us advance with great expectations and examine many an old curiosity (shop). In other words, here's my pick for number 10...
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Freelance copywriter, film buff, community radio presenter. Former host of The Movie Hour podcast (http://www.lionheartradio.com/ and click 'Interviews'), currently presenting on Phonic FM in Exeter (http://www.phonic.fm/). Other loves include theatre, music and test cricket.