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Downton star set for Dickens biopic

A brand new Charles Dickens biopic will be hitting the screens just in time for Christmas, which tells the tale of how the great writer came to pen one of his most successful books.

Though it's seen as a bona fide classic today, A Christmas Carol had rather more humble beginnings. Although he was a celebrity of his day at the time of its writing, Dickens' star was a little on the wane, with previous novel Martin Chuzzlewit failing to set the world alight in similar ways to his previous novels. His publishers were a little spooked and so, when Dickens approached them with A Christmas Carol, they passed.

Undeterred, Dickens ploughed ahead with his idea and pledged to publish the book himself. He also dived headlong into its plot, even wandering the streets of London acting out scenes and arguing with his characters - behaviour which worried his family into thinking he'd gone insane.

However, all the hard work (and indeed erratic behaviour) paid off when A Christmas Carol was eventually published. It would go on to become one of the best loved festive tales ever told.

Now, the story behind the story is being told in British film 'The Man Who Invented Christmas'. The film stars Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey, Beauty and the Beast) as Charles Dickens, plus Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music) as Ebenezer Scrooge and Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones) as John Dickens. It's directed by Bharat Nalluri (Spooks).

The Man Who Invented Christmas hits screens on 1 December.