Sherlock's Mark Gatiss to Make Directorial Debut with BBC's 'The Tractate Middoth' This Christmas

markgatiss.jpg

Mark Gatiss, director. (Photo: BBC)
Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss is set to spruce up your holidays with a little horror this year – he’ll be bringing an adaptation of M.R. James’ The Tractate Middoth to BBC Two for Christmas. The drama will be accompanied by a new documentary on James – also presented by Gatiss – called Ghost Writer.

Gatiss, who also writes for Doctor Who fairly frequently, and is also the man behind upcoming 50th anniversary biopic An Adventure in Space and Time, will be making his directorial debut this holiday season with this bit of “festive horror”.

Plus, he’ll even be reunited with fellow Sherlock star. Una Stubbs, who plays everyone’s favorite landlady (not housekeeper) Mrs. Hudson on the mystery drama, has snagged a lead role in this gothic ghost story, alongside former Who companion Louise Jameson, The History Boys star Sacha Dhawan and I, Claudius’ John Castle.  Other notable names in the cast include David Ryall, Eleanor Bron, Nick Burns and Roy Barraclough. Want more details? Read on.

Per the official BBC press release, the story goes like this: In a quiet academic library, John Eldred (Castle) seeks out the help of young Mr Garrett (Dhawan) in his search for a seemingly obscure Hebrew text. But there is something unusual about this book and something not entirely scholarly about Eldred’s intentions. Soon, Garrett's hunt for the Tractate Middoth provokes terrifying apparitions in the library and a vengeful menace from beyond the grave. Dun dun dunnnnnn….

Given Gatiss’ penchant for genre and/or period stories (take a look at his Who resume for examples of the sort of tropes he seems to enjoy writing best), this gothic sounding horror tale seems basically right up his alley.

“The wonderful adaptations of MR James's tales that I saw on TV as a child have been a lasting inspiration to me,” said Gatiss. “I'm delighted to restore the tradition of a BBC 'Ghost Story for Christmas' and bring to life a personal favorite - The Tractate Middoth - one of James's most atmospheric, thrilling, and downright scary tales."

Sounds good to me! Here’s hoping that this bit of holiday fare finds its way to America as a Christmas present for us all this year!