Sherlock co-creator and regular Doctor Who scribe Mark Gatiss is returning to the world of horror, it has been revealed at the Edinburgh TV Festival, with the actor and writer bringing a brand-new ghost story to BBC4.
Called The Dead Room, the one-off drama is written and directed by Gatiss and stars Simon Callow as a veteran radio presenter concerned by spooky goings-on at a recording studio, where he returns to present the latest edition of a long-running horror series.
The half-hour story is set and filmed at the BBC’s iconic Maida Vale studios (soon to be shuttered as some of the Corporation’s radio operations move to East London), where Gatiss previously filmed some scenes for 2013 Doctor Who origins drama An Adventure in Space and Time.
RadioTimes.com understands that The Dead Room (a term referring to particular rooms in recording studios that are specially soundproofed) was filmed earlier in the summer, and also stars The Sarah Jane Adventures’ Anjli Mohindra, Susan Penhaglion and Joshu Oakes-Rogers alongside Callow (who previously appeared in Gatiss’s ghost-themed Doctor Who episode The Unquiet Dead).
A summary of The Dead Room was released by the BBC, and can be read below.
Set and filmed at the iconic Maida Vale studios, The Dead Room tells the story of a long-running radio horror series and its veteran presenter and national treasure Aubrey Judd.
But times are changing. Tastes are shifting. There’s a new young producer. Whatever happened to the classic ghost stories? The good old days? Aubrey soon discovers that all is not quiet in the eerie radio studio and that elements of his own past are not as dead and buried as he perhaps hoped…
The news of Gatiss’s new drama comes among a raft of new BBC4 commissions, including new documentaries based on the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe and the roots of Eugenics (in You, Me and Eugenics) and a new Spanish thriller called The Plague, which follows the impact of The Black Death on Seville in 1597.
The historical drama, which consists of six 50-minute episodes, is broadcast around the world, and you can read more about the premise below.
The Black Death descends on Seville, one of the richest and most significant cities in the world. It is the doorway to Europe for gold rich migrants from the New World, and it is a city cloaked in Catholic piety. Pursuit of power is fuelled by fear and greed, and hypocrisy abounds. Convents are lax, brothels are regulated and hospitals are used as graveyards. Mysticism and chaos rule.
Mateo (Pablo Molinero), a former heretic, must now return to the city that sentenced him to death. He must honour the dying wish of his best friend: to save Valerio (Sergio Castellanos), his friend’s bastard son.
On arrival in Seville, Mateo is arrested, but the Holy Office offers Mateo a proposal for absolution: solve the murders in the city which all seem to be part of a demonic ritual and he will be pardoned. For Mateo this is life or death and he is drawn into a conspiracy which reaches the very heights of power in Seville. As the plague begins to consume the city, the walls are closed and the pursuit to find the murderer intensifies.
All in all, then, a cheerful collection of commissions from BBC4 focused on hauntings, eugenics, murder and painful disease. Just in time for autumn.