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Published on October 21st, 2010 | by Meredith Burdett

Gatiss’ Eccentrics

Doctor Who writer Mark Gatiss is currently one of the BBC’s hottest bits of property. With a finger in every pie and a train in every station.

He’s currently overseeing the production of his modern day reimagining of Sherlock Holmes, Sherlock, which he co-produces with Doctor Who’s lead writer Steven Moffat. He’s just finished writing a new episode of Doctor Who for the 2011 series and he’s currently adapted and starring in the H.G. Wells adventure The First Men in the Moon.

Add to that mix of shows A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss on BBC Four, his adaptation of a Poirot adventure showing on ITV this October and a radio show for Radio 4 on a haunted house and you could very confidently say that Mr Gatiss is a very busy man indeed!

But at the moment, Mark’s newest show, The First Men in the Moon is his biggest focus. Whilst talking to The Daily Telegraph, he explained:

“It was brought to my attention by some friends of mine who work in special effects that unlike most of the other HG Wells titles – The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine – this one for some reason isn’t owned by one of the big Hollywood studios.

“s so much my favourite kind of thing. The sort of programme I’ve always wanted to make is the sort of programme I’d like to watch on a Bank Holiday Monday: that kind of adventure, that kind of fantasy.”

And is Mark purposefully drawn to these types of characters? Eccentric and heroic at the same time? He certainly thinks so:

“I’m drawn to eccentric characters because they’re more fun…I think one of the few faults in Dickens is that mostly his lead characters are blanks – who is David Copperfield, who is Oliver Twist? And yet he takes such joy in populating the rest of his novels with these fantastic, grotesque people like Pecksmith and so on…also, eccentric characters can surprise you.

“Something I was very keen to put in our version of Sherlock, which I don’t think had ever been done, was to combat this idea that Holmes is a complete know-it-all – so I put in this thing from the original stories that he doesn’t know the Earth goes round the Sun. There are some things everybody else knows but which he’s ignorant about. He says to Watson, ‘I don’t care… I know by looking at the mud on your shoe that you went to the Wigmore Street post office this morning but why should I care if the Earth goes round the Sun or the Sun goes round the Earth?’

“When I was a kid that thrilled me.”

Mark is certainly hot property at the moment so it’s good news for all Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes fans that he’s involved in both shows. Who knows, he may well be Doctor Who’s next Executive Producer…

The First Men in the Moon is available to view on BBC iPlayer. You can read the full article at www.telegraph.co.uk/culture

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What happens when an eight year old kid watches the 1993 repeat run of Planet of the Daleks? He pretty much ends up here writing about the show that grabbed hold of him and never let go!



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