Marley is dead. Seven years before our story begins Scrooge is seen, as a solitary mourner, at the funeral of his business partner Jacob Marley. It is the finality of Marley's death which gives meaning to all the events that follow.
In a street in the old city of London, on Christmas Eve, shoppers hurry to buy last minute Christmas presents. Outside the counting house where Ebeneezer Scrooge and the late Jacob Marley have made their money, carol singers arrive collecting for the poor.