BBC Revives Christmas Ghost Story And Brings Us Major New SF Documentary Series

The BBC has announced that it's resurrecting one of the great Christmas TV traditions with a new adaptation of one of MR James' classic, spine-bothering tales, written and directed by Mark Gatiss.

A longtime James admirer, Gatiss will also present an accompanying documentary on the master of the English ghost story, seeking the secrets of his inspiration.

BBC Two are also set to screen My God, It's Full Of Stars: A Journey To The Edge Of Science Fiction . This four part collaboration with BBC America is pitched as the definitive television history of science fiction, examining its impact on cinema, TV and literature. Each episode will explore one of the enduring themes of SF, from time travel to the exploration of space, robots and artificial intelligence to the genre's treatment of aliens.

"It's a pleasure to bring Mark Gatiss back to BBC Two with a new look at one of Britain's genre defining writers," says Janice Hadlow, Controller of BBC Two. "And we'll be setting a channel first as we take an in-depth look at the cult of science fiction."

Gatiss will adapt James' intriguingly named tale "The Tractate Middoth", the story of a disputed will, a race against time and something characteristically nasty lurking in the library. It's the first Christmastime James tale since 2010's "Whistle And I'll Come To You." BBC Four gave us "A View From A Hill" and "Number 13" in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

Best get the candles in...

Nick Setchfield
Editor-at-Large, SFX Magazine

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements.