After the success of Simon Callow-starring ghost story The Dead Room in 2018, writer/director Mark Gatiss is back with another spooky tale for Christmas – and this time, he’s brought his old Doctor Who colleague Peter Capaldi onboard to help tell the story.
“After the delightful success of last year’s The Dead Room, it’s a fantastic privilege to continue the tradition of the Christmas Ghost story on BBC4,” Mark Gatiss said in a release.
“And what better than one of my favourite stories by the master of them all, M.R. James?”
Find out everything you need to know about Martin’s Close below.
When is Martin’s Close on TV?
When the one-off BBC4 drama was announced at the Edinburgh TV festival, all that was revealed was that a Christmas 2019 broadcast was planned.
However, it seems likely that Martin’s Close will air specifically on Christmas Eve in a late-night BBC4 slot, roughly the same time as 2018’s The Dead Room around 10.00pm.
What’s the story?
Based on a short story by M.R. James, Martin’s Close follows a court case with an unusual supernatural bent, where a man accused of murder appears to have been visited by the ghost of his victim.
In the end, the ghostly appearances form a crucial part of the evidence against George Martin, and years later the case is rediscovered by a curious visitor to Martin’s village.
The official synopsis can be read below:
1684. John Martin is on trial for his life. Facing him, the infamous ‘hanging Judge’, George Jeffreys. But this is not a cut and dried murder case. Because the innocent girl Martin is accused of killing has been seen after her death…
Who’s in the cast?
The cast is led by former Doctor Who star Peter Capaldi, who plays Mr Dolben, the barrister prosecuting Mr Martin for the Crown.
Capaldi and Gatiss have worked together many times before, with Gatiss penning various scripts for Capaldi’s Doctor Who years and even co-starring with him in his final Who episode Twice Upon a Time.
The titular George Martin is played by Wilf Scolding (pictured), best known as Game of Thrones’ Rhaegar Targaryen, with Da Vinci’s Demons and Murder on the Orient Express star Elliot Levey as the real-life Judge George Jeffreys (who James wrote into his fictional story from history).
The Archers’ Simon Williams plays Stanton, Four Weddings and a Funeral’s Sara Crowe plays Sarah, Miranda’s James Holmes plays Snell and Cucumber’s Fisayo Akinade plays William.
It’s also likely that Gatiss will squeeze a small cameo for himself into the programme, though at this stage it’s unknown whether he took that step.