John Hurt To Star In Spooky BBC Christmas Drama

It’s an adaptation of MR James’s Oh Whistle And I’ll Come To You, My Lad

Elephant Man , Alien , The Storyteller and Harry Potter (amongst a zillion other things) actor John Hurt is set to star as James Parkin in Whistle And I'll Come To You , a spooky BBC one-off drama for Christmas. Gemma Jones ( Harry Potter , Spooks ) and Leslie Sharp ( Doctor Who , Little Voice ) will also star.

The show is based on MR James’s 1904 short story “Oh Whitsle And I’ll Come To You, My Lad”, about a man’s encounter with an apparition on a desolate British beach and how this haunting begins to hound him. It was previously adapted for the BBC in 1968 by director Jonathan Miller, with Michael (voice of Paddington Bear and Gandalf) Hordern in the lead role.

The new version has been written by Luther ’s Neil Cross and updates the tale to the modern day, exploring themes of ageing, hubris and the supernatural, adding a terrifying psychological twist.

John Hurt says: “ Oh Whistle And I'll Come To You, My Lad is M R James’s most famous ghost story and I’m thrilled to be involved in this contemporary re- working of it, particularly as I’ve never done a ghost story before and I love to have new territory to walk. It’s also a great pleasure to be working with the BBC again.”

Neil Cross adds: “For reasons I don’t quite understand, I always enjoyed tales that terrified me. I grew up loving ghost stories, classic and modern. But I never got to tell a ghost story... until the BBC offered me the opportunity. Whistle And I’ll Come To You is a contemporary re-telling of one of the greatest, most beloved tales of the supernatural ever told. With the flawless casting of John Hurt and Gemma Jones, it aims to break the heart as it chills the soul.”

The drama is being directed Andy de Emmony ( West Is West , God On Trial ) and is apparently influenced by The Orphanage , The Shining and Japanese horror movies (sounds good). Filming begins at the end of October in and around South East England.