Dracula rises from the grave once more, this time from Big Finish in the form of Mark Gatiss
Fresh from adapting Bram Stoker’s classic novel alongside his Sherlock cohort Steven Moffat, Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss returns for another bite of the Dracula myth. And this time, he’ll be playing the Count himself. Dracula’s Guests is a new audio play from Big Finish Productions, well known to fans for their Doctor Who adventures. It will not only be a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker’s short story Dracula’s Guest. But also a prequel to their own 2016 Dracula adaptation starring Gatiss.
Actor Mark Gatiss said: “As a life-long horror fan, vampires – and Dracula in particular – were always my favourite of them all. Stoker very mysteriously never bothered to write a sequel, but I thought it would be quite an interesting thing to come back to. He’s always coming back, isn’t he? It’s the point of Dracula.”
Producer and director Scott Handcock, who also works on both the Torchwood and Doctor Who ranges, added: “It was a thrill to bring Dracula back to life with our adaptation of the original novel in 2016, and an even bigger thrill when Mark Gatiss approached me a few months later asking whether we might be able to tell further tales of the Count. We’ve got some familiar faces returning, plus some fantastic new characters too, and of course, right at the heart, the ominous presence of Dracula himself, once more conjured into existence by Mark!”
The new adaptation is set to expand on Stoker’s original, as the Count himself draws up his plans against England
Writer Jonathan Barnes, author of many of Big Finish’s finest Doctor Who stories, notes that, “There are so many loose strands, so many unfinished elements, so many things that are left unexplained in the original book. It seems almost to encourage us as writers to explore the world further. From that we’ve built up quite an elaborate story.”
Famously, the short story Dracula’s Guest was originally the first chapter of the novel, cut for unknown reasons. Later it was expanded into a prequel following the novel’s success, and published after Stoker’s death. It tells the tale of an unnamed English traveller (presumably Jonathan Harker) who, en route to Castle Dracula, encounters another aristocratic vampire in the form of Countess Dolingen.
This new version sees Gatiss return as Dracula, alongside Ian Hallard returning as Renfield (a part played by Gatiss himself in the BBC production). While David Bamber and Hannah Arterton are new characters Jeremiah Hart and Sabine. So listeners should expect an expanded and enhanced adaption that ties more directly in with the novel. It will also be followed in September by a sequel, Dracula’s War, which will complete Big Finish’s Dracula Trilogy.
Sitting in his castle like a spider in its web, Count Dracula is setting his plans in motion. Soon he will travel to England, there to cut a bloody swathe through polite society and pit himself against a dedicated crew of vampire-slayers. Yet before then there is much to be done. A certain artist must be brought to him and a certain portrait painted. An old tale must be told, drawn from the darkest recesses of Transylvanian history. And in faraway London an honest police detective must be corrupted and set to work in the service of the Count.
The vampire king is making preparations. And his survival will be assured – no matter the cost.
Duration: 180 mins approx.
Released: February 2020, exclusively from the Big Finish website.
Producer: Scott Handcock
Written by: Jonathan Barnes
Director: Scott Handcock
Script Editor: Scott Handcock
Senior Producer: David Richardson
Executive Producers: Nicholas Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery
RRP: Pre-order collector’s edition CD £19.99 / Pre-order Digital £16.99 (download) from www.bigfinish.com
RRP: General Release collector’s edition CD £24.99 / General Release Digital £19.99 (download)