Thanks to Cause UK, MALTON and its unique links with Charles Dickens will be featured in a BBC Songs of Praise programme next weekend.
Film crews spent the day in the town yesterday (Tuesday) visiting key locations linked to one of Dickens’ most well-loved books, A Christmas Carol. They interviewed James Martin and Selina Scott as part of their Christmas special which will be shown on 7 December.
Clair Challenor-Chadwick, MD of Cause UK helped to negotiate a focus on Malton as part of the launch of a new-look Songs of Praise programme, said she hoped the town could build on its links with Dickens and create a special festival celebrating the connections next Christmas.
“Malton was incredibly lucky to buy a rare edition of A Christmas Carol at an auction in New York two years ago,” she said.
“We really want people in Malton and the surrounding area to see the potential for this book and what a wonderful gift it is to the town.”
Dickens was a regular visitor to Malton where his best friend, Charles Smithson, lived. When Smithson died aged 39, Dickens attended his funeral in the town and dedicated an early edition of A Christmas Carol to Mrs Smithson.
It is said that Dickens was also inspired to base Scrooge’s Counting House on Smithson’s office in Chancery Lane, in Malton.
Ann Challenor-Chadwick, from Cause UK, who has helped to coordinate the project, said they hoped to continue to celebrate the legacy of Dickens in Malton.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Malton and we hope to have a festival here in the town and help recreate a real Dickens’ Christmas, which would have a huge impact on the area and local businesses,” she said.
Filming also took place at The Talbot Hotel where the book will be on view over Christmas and in the Market Place where television chef James Martin served drinks of Smoking Bishop, a Dickensian delicacy, and traditional gingerbread from Malton Cookery School.
Brian Oxberry, from the Charles Dickens (Malton) Society, said: “We have had an enjoyable day filming and we really hope this puts Dickens links with Malton and the Counting House on the map and helps bring more visitors to our museum and the town itself.”
Meanwhile, Lucinda Hawksley, the great, great, great granddaughter of Dickens, will be reading extracts from A Christmas Carol at The Talbot Hotel on Saturday, as well as taking part in a question and answer session.
Tickets are £25 and proceeds will go to Dickens Gift to Yorkshire, which was established to manage and conserve the signed 1844 edition of A Christmas Carol.
For more information and to book, phone The Talbot on 01653 639096 or go to talbotmalton.co.uk