Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Spooky vintage telly times ahead

October is not far away, and one of the treats to look forward to is ITV's Jekyll and Hyde. They haven't announced firmer dates than October yet, but it's definitely one to look out for.

Why should you care? For the following reasons:

* It's set in 1930s London, so should be packed with fabulous sets, props and costumes.

* It's scripted by Charlie Higson (The Fast Show, the remake of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and the Young Bond books.

* Higson has cited Indiana Jones films and 1960s spy-fi programmes (specifically The Prisoner, The Avengers and The Champions) as inspiration.

*Richard E Grant will be in it.

For any one of those reasons I'd be paying attention, but all together? Looks like a recipe for win-cake to me. I'm very pleased that it's been made as a ten-parter; British series always seem so short compared to American programmes, though I do suppose that does leave you wanting more.

I'm also pleased to see it has a strong British Asian cast; British Asian actors rarely seem to get as much screen time as those from other ethnic groups. (It annoys me that in all the debate about whether the next James Bond, Doctor Who, whatever should be white and/or male, actors with Asian ancestry are never considered.) Clearly the programme isn't going to be like the original novel – the Jekyll of the programme is the grandson of Stevenson's Doctor – but I learned to accept long ago that certain horror characters are now bigger and beyond the books they first appeared in. Draculas rarely bear much resemblance to Dracula, and when was the last time you saw a Frankenstein's monster that matched the one in the book? A different sort of Jekyll won't be a problem.

However, that's not all the ghostly goodness the mainstream channels will be serving up. While I don't have broadcast dates for either programme yet, I'm also eagerly anticipating Harry Price: Ghost Hunter (an ITV programme based on the exploits of Britain's most famous investigator of the supernatural, set in the 1920s) and The Living and the Dead (a BBC series about a young couple who, in the 1890s, move into a spooky old house). Interestingly, people who worked on Life on Mars and/or Ashes to Ashes, which I absolutely loved, have a hand in both shows - Jack Lothian is writing for Harry Price…, while Ashley Pharaoh and Matthew Graham are working on The Living…

As always, I will be dishing up a humungous helping of vintage horror in October, including this year's Bloofer Lady/Gent, reviews of classic scary films and some spinechilling books.

9 comments :

  1. hmmm... I might just give this a go. Thanks for the 'heads up' :)

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    1. Glad to be of service - I'd be annoyed if I missed these things, so it's good to share.

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  2. See shorter runtimes are something where I think British shows can do better than American ones, and in fact a lot of US shows (Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead etc.) seem more likely to eschew the 24 episodes a season model. I wonder if they have enough story for a 10 parter about Jekyll and Hyde? I suppose it is 10 years or so since Stephen Moffat gave us a modern take on J&H featuring one of Jekyll’s descendants so we were about due. The reference to things like The Prisoner and The Avengers etc gets my hopes up (though I’m not sure the last time ITV made anything I really liked).

    I must admit it’s long annoyed me that people talk about a black Bond or Doctor Who yet rarely consider that there are other ethnicities that have equal right to be considered (maybe even more of a right if you look at things from a purely statistical ethnic breakdown of the UK populous). I’m quite happy with Capaldi, but would have loved to see someone like Alexander Siddig at the Doctor.

    I look forward to a horror filled October from you!

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    1. I get the feeling they've gone right off-book on this one.

      I wouldn't like to see 24-episode seasons, but when things like Foyle's War 'last' for three it's ridiculous. I did really like the fact that Partners In Crime would carry one story across three episodes as so many things like that are one-hour one-parters, and it's nice to get a series. (Standalone episodes are probably easier to sell on...)

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    2. I know what you mean, Sherlock feels like it comes and goes too quickly with three episodes, even if they're feature length, then again I've seen too many shows that I loved just go on and on...American shows are the worst for this, sometimes less is more, which is why Ultraviolet is still one of the best tv series of the last few decades even though there are only 6 episodes of it.

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  3. Ooohhh, I can hardly wait! I live for all the fun, festivities and spooky elements of autumn. And should this series happen to ever hit Netflix Canada, you can be your bottom dollar that I will be all over it faster that a ghost at a buy one, get one free chain sale. :D

    Big hugs,
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. I'm sure it will reach you eventually!

      Love that image of a ghost :-D

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  4. Mim, dear..
    I'm definitively giving this a GO.
    Again: thank you ever so much for keeping me informed on up and coming TV shows. Where would I be without you?! :)

    Marija

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  5. OOh, I might just watch this. I don't normally do telly but I can't resist a bit of horror now and again. Thanks for info. Xx

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