Christ­mas Eve

A Ghost Story For Christ­mas: The Dead Room 10pm, BBC Four

The Herald on Sunday - Sunday Herald Life - - Tv And Radio -

Ku­dos to Mark Gatiss, who’s worked hard to re­vive the BBC’s old su­per­nat­u­ral Christ­mas tra­di­tion. The strand is most fa­mous for its 1970s MR James adap­ta­tions, and in 2013 Gatiss di­rected a new adap­ta­tion of James’s The Trac­tate Mid­doth. This time, though, he’s writ­ten his own tale, a spare and spooky piece about a pompous old-school ac­tor (Si­mon Cal­low) who has been host­ing a ra­dio hor­ror story show for 40 years. For his lat­est record­ing, he’s re­turned to a stu­dio he used to work in decades ago, bring­ing mem­o­ries of the hot sum­mer of 1976 creep­ing from the shad­ows. It’s stripped-down and claus­tro­pho­bic, with the BBC’s Maida Vale stu­dio al­most a char­ac­ter it­self. Stay tuned af­ter­wards for two ex­cel­lent 1970s MR James sto­ries, Lost Hearts and The Ash Tree.

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