When new drama Dracula begins on BBC1 tonight (Wednesday 1st January) it kicks off a three-day bloodbath from Claes Bang’s Count, with the feature-length second and third episodes following on subsequent days (2nd and 3rd January respectively) to make a truly vampire-packed beginning to 2020.
However, according to series co-creator Steven Moffat it wasn’t always the plan to drop all three episodes of Dracula so close to each other, with the idea only coming much later in the process.
“It wasn’t something we always knew,” Moffat, who co-created the series with regular Sherlock collaborator Mark Gatiss, told RadioTimes.com. “Not especially. We didn’t know what the plan would be.
“We like the plan though,” added executive producer Sue Vertue, noting that a similar release schedule had been used for the latest series on Idris Elba drama Luther in 2019.
“It’s a good plan!” agreed Moffat. “But we’ve all been re-educated about how we watch television. We want to watch it all at once now.”
Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue on the set of Dracula (BBC)
In other words, the quick release of Dracula will be a blessing for binge-watchers – and, considering the series is being released all at once on Netflix in countries outside the UK, this will be a trend worldwide – even if Vertue and Moffat admit that in terms of overnight ratings, the series may suffer a little from the quick release.
“I think the overnights might change slightly,” Vertue said. “But we never really pay much attention [to that].
“I don’t know what the result will be,” Moffat said. “People might choose to wait longer [before watching].”
“But I think the way we regard television now is not so much ‘I’m watching it while it’s on’, as ‘that’s now been delivered to my hard drive; I’ll watch it in my own time, thank you’. That’s how we think.”
Like Count Dracula himself, then, this series looks set to stick around a lot longer than we might expect – and take a much bigger bite of the festive TV audience than first appears.
Dracula airs nightly from Monday 1st January on BBC1 at 9.00pm