Dracula TV series: Everything you need to know

Photo credit: Hammer
Photo credit: Hammer

From Digital Spy

After teasing us with promises of a "juicy" new collaboration, Sherlock writing team Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss were confirmed on June 20, 2017 to be working on a new Dracula TV series.

Variety broke the story – which Gatiss followed up with cheeky tweet, confirming the fang-tastic news.

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Here's everything we know so far about Dracula, from a potential air date to the impact it might have on Gatiss and Moffat's other projects.

Dracula TV series: Who's behind it?

This latest version of Bram Stoker's vampire classic will be co-written by Moffat and Gatiss and, of course, will be produced by Sue Vertue's Hartswood Films. Same team as Sherlock, essentially.

Photo credit: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images
Photo credit: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images

Dracula TV series: When will it air?

The project is said to be in the very early stages of development – indeed, when we spoke to Gatiss in June 2017 about plans to work with Moffat again, he suggested that their next joint effort would be "a way off".

Shortly after the series announcement was made, Moffat also suggested that work on the project will "not [begin] immediately".

"Mark and I at some point in the relatively near future are going to do a version of Dracula together, just because there's one famous Victorian we haven't disinterred yet," he said in June.

"I've got other plans just before that, mostly involving a balcony and gin 'n' tonic!"

Moffat later confirmed that writing would begin on Dracula in January of 2018. As of late January, Gatiss revealed that he and Moffat were still "throwing ideas around" but that they'd begin pulling scripts together in February.

Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Photo credit: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

The bad news? Gatiss also hinted that then series might not launch for "at least" two years.

The good news is that, even if we're made to wait till 2020 (or longer), talks are underway with the BBC to air the series in the UK – with international partners from the US and elsewhere also expected to board the project.

Dracula TV series cast: Who will star?

Variety's original story noted that "with scripts not yet written, casting for Dracula is some way off" – so you can stop Photoshopping fangs onto Benedict Cumberbatch right now.

Although it's worth noting that Mark Gatiss himself has played Dracula, and quite recently to boot. He starred in a four-hour audio adaptation of Stoker's novel, released by Big Finish – known for its Doctor Who audio plays – in May 2016.

Might Gatiss be eyeing the TV show's lead for himself? "It's the big one, isn't it?" he said, when Digital Spy quizzed him on just that last year. "I think it's time for a female Dracula!"

He later revealed that the part he's actually interested in is Renfield, Dracula's mad manservant. "That's the best part," Gatiss insisted.

Dracula TV series spoilers: What's it about?

It's not yet clear if the show will be a period piece – set, like Stoker's novel, in 1897 – or if the show will transport Dracula to the modern age, a la Sherlock.

Similarly, we're not yet sure if this Dracula will stick closely to the book or just take inspiration from the source material to tell its own stories (again, like Sherlock).

"We're keeping schtum about what we're going to do," Moffat said in December 2017. "We've got an idea of how we're going to handle Dracula, but we're not saying what it is."

We do know, however, that Dracula will adopt the same format as its predecessor, airing as shorter series comprising feature-length episodes.

Despite all those Sherlock similarities, though, the show will categorically NOT reimagine Vlad the Impaler as a sexy genius crime-solver. "[It's] Dracula solves crimes!" Moffat joked at a Doctor Who event in June, before adding: "I just made that up – it's not that, it's not that!"

In terms of style, it's worth noting that Gatiss is on record as being a particular fan of Hammer's series of Dracula movies, which began in 1958 with Dracula, spawned eight sequels (of varying quality) and made a horror icon of Christopher Lee.

The second episode of Gatiss's 2010 BBC Four series A History of Horror – 'Home Counties Horror' – focused specifically on the Hammer Horror films of the 1950s and '60s, with our host enthusing about the "underrated" Lee and his co-star Peter Cushing.

In fact, Gatiss is such a big fan of the late Sir Christopher that he based his portrayal of Mycroft Holmes on Lee's own in 1970's The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock season 5: What does Dracula mean for the future of its sister show?

We're just speculating here, but Moffat and Gatiss working together on a new project that's not Sherlock, but that has all the same time commitments, would appear to suggest that cast availability is what's holding up the further adventures of Holmes and Watson.

That said, for the past seven years, Moffat has been heading up two high-profile TV series in Doctor Who and Sherlock and doesn't sound particularly keen to undertake a similar challenge again in future.

"I'm just at the end of my toughest ever year in which I'll have done... three Sherlocks and 14 Doctor Whos," he told Radio Times. "That's been shattering."

So juggling both Dracula and Sherlock? Probably not a prospect he'd thrill to – even if Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman were to suddenly become available.

"We're not going to do Sherlock whilst we're doing Dracula," Gatiss has said. So, if Sherlock does come back for more, it probably won't be for a long old while.

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