THUMB ep 10
"Dickens of a Christmas"

Back to the Future: The Animated Series




10 (10 in series)


Rick Cunningham, John Loy and John Ludin


John Hays


November 23, 1991

Episode chronology
Previous episode

"Solar Sailors"

Next episode

"Gone Fishin'"

"Dickens of a Christmas" is the tenth episode of the first season of Back to the Future: The Animated Series, and the tenth episode overall. It first aired on November 23, 1991.

Brief synopsis[]

After hearing everyone complain about the July heat, Doc takes his family and Marty to 1845 London to cool off and to celebrate a "Dickens" Christmas. Arriving on Christmas Eve, Doc entrusts his pocket watch (with the key to the DeLorean hooked on it) to Jules. When Clara, Doc and Marty go inside Fedgewick's Toys, Reg, a young pickpocket, steals the watch from Jules and the boys pursue the thief. The boys are caught by Murdock, the Fagin-like leader of the pickpockets, and are forced to join the group. While Doc and Marty go to look for them, Ebiffnezer Tannen, who holds the mortgage on the toy shop, throws the shopkeeper, his family and Clara into debtor's prison. Doc and Marty rescue the boys and decide to teach Ebiffnezer a lesson on humanity by having Marty dressed up as the Ghost of Christmas (with flying effects created by the hoverboard). Ebiffnezer has a change of heart and releases everyone from debtor's prison.


Factual Errors[]

  • Tower Bridge is seen at least twice in the episode. However, Tower Bridge was not constructed until 1894- 49 years later.


Clara: "If only it wasn't as hot as the Dickens!"
Doc: "That's it! Your mother has pinpointed the cause and the solution in one concise, worn out cliche!"
Doc: "The boys have disappeared without a trace element! What is this, London, or the Bermuda Triangle?!"
Einstein: "Woof!"
Doc: "Well, of course I know it's a scientifically disproven concept. I'm merely using it for rhetorical purposes."

Behind the scenes[]

  • By 1845, residents of London were familiar with Charles Dickens's famous story, and Marty gets the idea to pose as a ghost after hearing a man refer to Ebiffnezer as "a Scrooge". A Christmas Carol had been published two years earlier, in 1843.
  • A group of four carolers literally answer Doc's questions to the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas!, and inform him and Marty, in song, that Clara was taken to debtor's prison, and that the boys ran off after a pickpocket.
  • The fact that in this episode, Marty disguises himself as a Christmas Ghost to convince Ebiffnezer Tannan to free Clara (taken a reference to modern pop culture as a new persona and doing it during the night to a specific character) is similar to when Marty posed as "Darth Vader " to convince his father, George McFly, to take his future mother, Lorraine Baines, to the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance.


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