This Christmas Eve, Mark Gatiss is reviving the Christmas ghost story tradition with The Dead Room, a new half-hour drama set in a haunted radio studio.
And the Sherlock and Dracula co-creator has a small but well-cast team of actors to tell his self-contained tale, some of whom have a connection to Gatiss’ time working on Doctor Who. Check them all out below.
A veteran actor, Aubrey has presented the radio horror series The Dead Room for years among other jobs – but the latest recording might prove to be more terrifying for him than any before…
“He’s a magnificent actor who has a bit of a past,” Simon Callow told RadioTimes.com of his character. “He’s a legendary broadcaster.
“He’s very modest, he likes to talk himself down a bit. There’s nothing seedy about Aubrey. He’s been doing this radio show for 40 years – he’s one of these fixtures. Nobody admits listening to The Dead Room, but they absolutely do, in the car.”
Where have I seen Simon Callow before?
A well-known face of stage and screen, Callow’s film roles have included Amadeus, Four Weddings and a Funeral, James and the Giant Peach, Shakespeare in Love, Viceroy’s House, Mindhorn (as an exaggerated version of himself) and Victoria & Abdul.
On the smaller screen, he’s worked on TV shows including David Copperfield, Rome, various Agatha Christie dramas, Outlander, Death in Paradise and Doctor Who, where he played Charles Dickens in an episode penned by The Dead Room’s writer/director Mark Gatiss.
Still, it’s probably Callow’s theatre work that has been his biggest success, with the actor also starring in and directing many plays over the decades.
Anjli Mohindra plays Tara Lohia
Who is Tara Lohia?
An up-and-coming radio producer, Tara’s new style of working clashes slightly with Aubrey’s old-fashioned techniques at first.
“She’s a very ambitious producer who is getting her toes trampled on a little bit by Aubrey,” Anjili told us.
“It’s a future meets past of radio productions, if that makes sense.”
Where have I seen Anjli Mohindra before?
Anjili got her big break playing Rani Chandra in BBC Doctor Who spin-off The Sarah-Jane Adventures, later taking large roles in Russell T Davies’ Cucumber, Cuffs, Paranoid, The Boy with the Topknot and Dark Heart.
However, it’s probably her role as Nadia in smash-hit BBC drama Bodyguard that’s given her the most attention in recent months, with the actor’s performance as a potential suicide bomber with a secret receiving a positive reception from viewers.
Susan Penhaligon plays Joan
Who is Joan?
A ‘foley artist’ of the old school, Joan’s (far left) job is to create the background noise and sound effects for radio plays.
“I make all the noises,” Susan Penhaligon told RadioTimes.com during filming.
“She’s the sort of character that’s been walking around these corridors for years. She’s never gotten out.”
Where have I seen Susan Penhaligon before?
An experienced TV, film and theatre actor, Susan’s screen credits include Upstairs Downstairs, Bergerac, Remington Steele, Doctor Who, Casualty and Emmerdale, as well as film roles in Say Hello to Yesterday, Under Milk Wood, No Sex Please, We’re British and The Land That Time Forgot. Like Callow she’s also a veteran of the stage for the last few decades.
You’ll have to wait and see, as this character’s significance is being kept under wraps.
Where have I seen Joshua Oakes-Rogers before?
Oakes-Rogers is fairly new to acting, with his only other screen credit before The Dead Room seeing him play a young Harry Hill in Sky Christmas anthology series Little Crackers. He has also appeared in plays and musicals including Romeo and Juliet, Roseline, Body and Sold, Sweeney Todd and West Side Story.
The Dead Room airs on BBC4 on Monday 24th December (Christmas Eve) at 10.00pm