BBC and Netflix’s Dracula has been ripping up the airwaves this holiday season. Now comes news that one of the adaptation’s co-creators, Mark Gatiss, will lead a full-cast production in an drama prequel to the original novel from Big Finish Productions.
Dracula’s Guests, due for release in February 2020, will star Gatiss as the Count, alongside David Bamber (Valkyrie, Miss Potter, The Bourne Identity) as Jeremiah Hart, Ian Hallard (Mary Queen of Scots, Doctor Who, Marple) as Renfield and Hannah Arterton (Safe, The Five, Peripheral) as Sabine in a three-hour box set series from Big Finish, a company known for its Doctor Who audio adventures. Silas Carson, a Star Wars prequel actor and the voice of Doctor Who’s Ood, is also credited along with Simon Ludders, who played Renfield is CBBC’s Young Dracula series.
A prequel to the events of the original novel, Dracula’s Guests is adapted by Jonathan Barnes and forms the opening chapter in a trilogy of terrifying Dracula audio adventures. A bundle will include Dracula’s Guests as well as an adaptation of the original novel Dracula and the sequel release due in September 2020, Dracula’s War, in addition to the Dracula prequel itself.
Sitting in his castle like a spider in its web, Count Dracula is setting his plans in motion.
Soon he will travel to England, there to cut a bloody swathe through polite society and pit himself against a dedicated crew of vampire-slayers.
Yet before then there is much to be done. A certain artist must be brought to him and a certain portrait painted. An old tale must be told, drawn from the darkest recesses of Transylvanian history. And in faraway London an honest police detective must be corrupted and set to work in the service of the Count.
The vampire king is making preparations. And his survival will be assured – no matter the cost.
Actor Mark Gatiss said of the Dracula prequel: “As a life-long horror fan, vampires – and Dracula in particular – were always my favourite of them all. Stoker very mysteriously never bothered to write a sequel, but I thought it would be quite an interesting thing to come back to. He’s always coming back, isn’t he? It’s the point of Dracula.”
Writer Jonathan Barnes agreed: “There are so many loose strands, so many unfinished elements, so many things that are left unexplained in the original book, it seems almost to encourage us as writers to explore the world further. From that we’ve built up quite an elaborate story.”
Producer and director Scott Handcock added: “It was a thrill to bring Dracula back to life with our adaptation of the original novel in 2016, and an even bigger thrill when Mark Gatiss approached me a few months later asking whether we might be able to tell further tales of the Count. We’ve got some familiar faces returning, plus some fantastic new characters too, and of course, right at the heart, the ominous presence of Dracula himself, once more conjured into existence by Mark!”
Mark Gatiss is well known for his countless contributions to film and television, co-creating The League of Gentlemen alongside Steve Pemberton and Reece Sheersmith, and the unstoppable juggernaut Sherlock alongside Steven Moffat. As a writer, he has contributed eight television episodes of Doctor Who, as well as the Big Finish plays Doctor Who: Phantasmagoria and Doctor Who: Invaders from Mars.
A faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel starring Mark Gatiss was released by Big Finish in 2016. Dracula’s Guests is a prequel based on the short story originally published posthumously in 1914.
There are a few other Big Finish announcements we missed reporting over the holidays, specifically related to Doctor Who and its various spinoffs:
- Alex Kingston will reprise her role as the Doctor’s wife, River Song, in four new full-cast audio adventures this month in a seventh series of “The Diary of River Song.” The Weeping Angels are involved …
- The Eleventh Doctor’s Victorian allies, the Paternoster Gang — Madame Vastra, Jenny and Strax, will be back in May for a third (and later fourth) collection of adventures that will also include Fourth Doctor co-star Christopher Benjamin as theater owner Henry Gordon Jago from “The Talons of Weng Chiang.”
- Paul McGann will begin a new series of Eighth Doctor Adventures with a July box set titled “Stranded,” in which the Doctor swaps outer space for inner London, 2020, in a full-cast adventure about a group of people living together and all the domestic tensions that brings — including Torchwood’s Tom Price.
More about Big Finish audio dramas:
- Victorian Christmas surprise in October from Doctor Who spinoff stars
- Another Elizabethan Doctor Who adventure, another Good Queen Bess …
- Michelle Ryan reprising one-off TV Doctor Who role for second audio spinoff series
- The late John Hurt’s War Doctor ‘Begins’ anew with new star at Big Finish
- Fifth and Sixth Doctors round out monthly Big Finish releases in early 2021
- Tom Baker to star in new Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious audio drama ‘Genetics of the Daleks’
- Davros and the Daleks vs the Time Lords
- Free Doctor Who: John Hurt’s War Doctor audio debut
- Doctor Who’s original spinoff star returns for new audio adventures with David Warner
- Destination Nerva: Experience Tom Baker’s Big Finish audio debut for free