'TIS the season to watch Christmas movies, with classics such as It’s A Wonderful Life and Home Alone playing on repeat throughout December, along with multiple screen versions of Charles Dickens’s much-loved spook story, A Christmas Carol. The novella that brought us the tightwad we all love to hate, Ebenezer Scrooge, was published in 1843, and since then the story has been adapted for radio, theatre, opera, and even graphic novels – with the earliest surviving film adaptation stretching back to 1901. Other early productions involved the first American produced version, released in 1908 and subsequently lost, and the popular 11-minute silent film released in 1910 – starring Marc McDermott and Charles S Ogle.

Here is our top five:

1. Scrooge (1951): Considered one of the greatest depictions of Dickens’s Christmas magnum opus, director Brian Desmond Hurst’s film was praised largely for the performance of Alastair Sim as Scrooge. Performing as the miserly top-hatted protagonist with wondrous skill, Sim’s portrayal reflected a typically huffy, uncaring figure, but with a curiously emotional edge. Revealing a human side to a character most epitomise as the true spoilsport of festive joy, Sim received critical acclaim for portraying a Scrooge whose character is challenged by his own inner demons and troubled past. Facing a mixed reception upon release, it has since cemented its status as a classic Christmas must-see.

2. Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983): Derived from Disney’s 1974 audio musical An Adaptation Of Dickens’ Christmas Carol, the featurette was the first original feature cartoon in 30 years – bar releases – to star the studio’s figurehead Mickey Mouse. Featuring other favourites, including Donald Duck and Goofy, the film told the story of Scrooge McDuck as he rebukes the Christmas sentimentality around him. Visiting the three ghosts of Christmas, McDuck is confronted by the error of his ways by the Ghost of Christmas Future, before repenting on his ways. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, the animation stands as one of the most distinguished Christmas cartoons – most notably for the unmistakable Scrooge McDuck, voiced by the late Alan Young who died last year.

3. Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988): First aired on December 23, 1988, the BBC’s 42-minute parody of the famous tale preceded the final instalment in the much-loved Blackadder TV comedy series. With memorable lines including, “Baldrick, you wouldn't see a subtle plan if it painted itself purple and danced naked on top of a harpsichord”, the Christmas special offered up the traditional Blackadder cast. Starring Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson and Stephen Fry, the show also included a hugely entertaining appearance from Robbie Coltrane, portraying the Spirit of Christmas who visits the ever animated and witty (Ebenezer) Blackadder on Christmas Eve and introduces him to his ancestors, with hilarious results. A must-watch for any Blackadder or Atkinson fan.

4. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): part musical, part comedy-drama, the Muppets’ take on A Christmas Carol is one of the best-known of the last 30 years. The Walt Disney release was the Muppets' fourth live-action musical, featuring Michael Caine as Scrooge, and an all-star Muppets line-up of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat. Following the traditional narrative of the miserly Scrooge rejecting Christmas invitations and charity, the film plays out as a light-hearted musical celebration of Christmas spirit. Originally billed as one of Disney’s biggest releases of the year, the production fell short of box office expectations, with stern competition from Home Alone 2: Lost In New York and Disney’s other 1990s hit, Aladdin. Nevertheless, it still garnered favourable reviews and is considered a Christmas classic for younger audiences.

5. A Christmas Carol (2000 Television movie): Yes, you better believe it. Ross Kemp starred in a 2000 adaptation, in his first role after departing Eastenders. Shot in Alexandra Road council estate in Camden, London, the film tells the story of Eddie Scrooge (Kemp), a menacing loan shark who is haunted by the three spirits of Christmas past, present and future, following the murder of his business partner Jacob Marley (Ray Fearon). Despite its modest budget and small-time production, the film ranked a favourable 7/10 on film site IMDB. The 75-minute drama-fantasy has established a cult following for its left-field approach to the character of Scrooge and its sincere grounding in exploring the virtues presented in Dickens’s tale.