Mark Gatiss has finally confirmed the expected: he’ll be contributing a script to Series 9 of Doctor Who!
It’ll be his second for Peter Capaldi’s Twelfth Doctor, his first being last year’s Robot of Sherwood, and he says that this year’s is much scarier than his typical Who serials. But he’s actually taken time out of writing it for an interview with The Telegraph!
“I’m in the midst of that right now – I broke off to come here today, in fact, but I’m hoping to finish the script tonight,” he says. “It has been a tough nut to crack, but I’m delighted with how scary it is. I can’t say any more than that.”
He’s trod a good line between horror and humour before with tales like The Unquiet Dead, Night Terrors, and The Crimson Horror, but hopefully we’ll get something more akin to his adaptation of The Tractate Middoth, a short story by M. R. James and screened late last year.
Of course, Gatiss is equally well known for his work on Sherlock, and fans have spotted the cast in decidedly Victorian attire, for reasons, he says, “which become apparent, so it was great fun to go back and un-invent the things we’d updated. Unbelievably, people have even asked me, ‘How can Sherlock exist in an age without iPhones?’ Well, there is some precedent here, there have been a few Victorian Sherlocks. But I guess that’s great because it means our version has worked so well, they can’t imagine it any other way.”
We’re yet to see him in the updated film version of Dad’s Army, in which he’s Captain Mainwaring’s colonel-in-chief (Mainwaring being played by Amy’s Choice star, Toby Jones), and a reunion of The League of Gentlemen, saying that “We want to do something for the 20th anniversary of the television show, which is four years off, but if we start planning now, we might actually do it.” But we’ll next see Gatiss on our TV screens in Channel 4’s Coalition, in which he plays PM, Peter Mandelson. The very name will no doubt make some want to gnaw their own faces off, but Gatiss seems to owe the so-called Prince of Darkness something of a debt.
“I’ve auditioned to play Mandelson before, in 2009 for the Mo Mowlam biopic that Julie Walters did [a role that finally went to Luther star, Steven Mackintosh]. Weirdly, that led to me playing Mycroft [in Sherlock],” he reveals. “I went straight from the audition to a Sherlock meeting, where we talked about how Mycroft is a Mandelsonian figure, a Machiavellian puppet-master who makes tough decisions and often ends up being the baddy because he’s about realpolitik. It just fell into place. Everyone said, ‘Well, you’d better play Mycroft, then.’ So I owe Mandelson an awful lot.”
Yes, we’re all shocked too.
Coalition is on Channel 4 on at 9pm, 26th March, while Doctor Who Series 9 feels like forever away (but is, in fact, edging closer, likely screening this Autumn). For more details about the forthcoming series, see our regularly updated Doctor Who Series 9 page.