Speaking at an event at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival, Gatiss said that the "germ" of the idea came midway through filming the third season of Sherlock.
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"It came about several years ago," Gatiss said. "We were filming — we'd just started the third series of Sherlock, where he comes back from the dead, and we had to break off after two days to go to the RTS awards (somebody has to do it) and I had a picture on my phone of Benedict silhouetted against the door of Mrs Hudson's room."
"I showed it to Ben Stephenson, who was then the Head of Drama [at the BBC], and I said, 'Looks like Dracula'. And he said, 'Do you want to do it?'"
"It didn't happen immediately but that was the germ of it, really. So it just seemed like the natural one to do if we were able to."
The three-part literary adaptation is co-written by Gatiss and Steven Moffat, and stars Danish actor Claes Bang as the eponymous vampire.