BBCs Dracula: Everything you need to know from the history of the savage vampire to the dramas goriest mom – The Sun

A NUN was decapitated, a mans face was ripped off and many of us cowered behind the sofa in fear...but Dracula fans are thirsty for more.

The new three-part adaptation on BBC1 has proved a hit with critics as well as viewers, with 3.6million tuning in on New Years Day.


Written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat the brains behind Sherlock and Doctor Who Danish actor Claes Bang stars as the savage but seductive vampire.

As the drama draws to a close tonight, Kate Jackson and Rod McPhee take a look at the monster who first sunk his teeth into our imaginations more than 120 years ago...and has never let go.

We also relive the scariest moments of the series so far.

Dracula continues on BBC1 Friday night at 9pm and is on BBC iPlayer.

ABRAHAM Bram Stoker grew up in Dublin in a middle-class Protestant family.

He married the beautiful Florence Balcombe, daughter of an Army officer who lived on the same road.


They had a son, Irving, and remained together until Stoker died, aged 64, in 1912.

However, it has been suggested their marriage was largely sexless amid speculation Stoker may have been gay.

The BBC1 adaptation of his most famous work certainly doesnt shy away from the homoerotic elements.

Scholars have pointed to the writers long friendship with actor Sir Henry Irving, whom Stoker worked for at Londons Lyceum Theatre, as well as his adoring letters to the US poet Walt Whitman.


Whitman, widely thought to be gay, was once described by Stoker as being a wife to his soul.

On In Search Of Dracula (airing tomorrow night on BBC2 at 10.35pm), author Sir Christopher Frayling says Stoker hero-worshipped Irving.

He says: There was something almost umbilical about their relationship. He believes Draculas mannerisms were inspired by Irvings on-stage performances.

Stoker also knew Oscar Wilde, who dated Florence before Stoker married her.


Dracula was written after Wilde was convicted for sodomy and it was published in 1897, the year Wilde was released from prison.

Stoker aligned himself with widespread homophobia after Wildes jailing.

However, author Talia Schaffer suggests this was, partly to disguise his own vulnerability as a gay man.

ONE of author Bram Stokers many influences was undoubtedly Vlad Tepes Vlad The Impaler.

Born in Transylvania, where Stokers fictional vampire resides, Vlad ruled Wallachia, now part of Romania, in the 15th century.


His father took the name Vlad Dracul after he was initiated into an order of Christian knights known as the Order of the Dragon.

Dracul means dragon or devil in the local dialect.

His brutal tactics for dealing with enemies included disembowelment, decapitation and skinning his victims alive. But his preferred punishment was driving a wooden stake through the body of a victim.

Vlad was said to have had as many as 20,000 people impaled on the banks of the river Danube during his campaign against Ottoman invaders in 1462.


Stories that he dipped his bread into their blood is up for debate.

Despite some similarities, the academic Elizabeth Miller, who has written several works on Dracula, believes Stoker did not know much about Vlad and certainly not enough for us to say Vlad was the main inspiration.

Before writing the novel, Stoker spent years reading up on European folklore, including books on werewolves and vampires.

Stoker said his monster came to him in a nightmare after eating crab meat and mayonnaise.

INCREDIBLY, Claes Bang is the 87th actor to pull on Draculas cape and slip in the fangs.

The Dane is probably best known for starring alongside Mad Mens Elisabeth Moss in the arthouse black comedy The Square.


That film won the Palme dOr prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017 while 6ft 4in Claes was named Best Actor at that years European Film Awards.

He has been touted as a possible successor to Daniel Craig as superspy James Bond.

John Heffernan, from Billericay in Essex, plays lawyer Jonathan Harker.

Johns previous TV credits include appearances on Luther, ITVs The Loch and the Beeb period drama Dickensian.


Harkers fiancee Mina is played by Morfydd Clark, who recently appeared in His Dark Materials.

The Welsh actress has been linked with a role in the upcoming Amazon adaptation of The Lord Of The Rings.

Sister Agatha the BBCs updated take on Stokers vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing is played by Londoner Dolly Wells.

She is best known for her Sky Atlantic comedy Doll & Em, made with her friend Emily Mortimer, and was in big-screen horror mash-up Pride And Prejudice And Zombies.

Zombie chase: After exploring the bowels of Draculas castle, captive lawyer Jonathan Harker is chased by a horde of zombies, including one unfortunate undead woman who has worms wiggling from holes in her face.

Vampire baby: The count brings home a treat for one of his incarcerated brides a baby to feast on. After falling victim to her, it is reborn undead and tries to sink its own tiny teeth into Jonathan.



Fly in the eye: It wont make you jump or frighten you as such, but the moment a fly lands on Jonathans eyeball will turn your stomach. Prepare to be repulsed when it crawls inside with him barely noticing.

Harker goes vamp: Poor Jonathan finally realises he has himself been turned into a vampire when he spots blood on his fiancee Minas forehead and suddenly sprouts fangs before trying to take a bite.

In bed with Drac: Jonathan has a dream during which he is in bed with fiancee Mina, who is tossing her long, blonde hair in ecstasy. Then she changes into the aged count, with blood running from his mouth.

Face off: The count has a cunning ploy to get Mina to invite him inside he hides inside Jonathans skinned body, then rips it off to reveal his true self.

Bloody mess: After taking his first human feast on board the ship the Demeter, Dracula overflows with blood, leaving it gushing down his chin and chest.


Turning heads: Jonathans tortured existence as a human is ended abruptly when the count breaks his neck with a sharp twist of the head, leaving his undead body writhing on the floor.

Decapitated nun: Enraged at being denied access to the nunnery where his nemesis Sister Agatha was taking refuge, Dracula finds a way in...and the Mother Superior loses her head.

In wolfs clothing: The count looks like he has been born again as he bursts out from a wolf in a fleshy sac, while the sisters look on in disbelief.

No rest for the wicked: In a classic moment that pays homage to Christopher Lees Hammer films from the Sixties and Seventies, Dracula seems to float from his coffin, his eyes bloodshot and fangs bared. Terrifying.

THEY might not fear the daylight or garlic but thousands of people call themselves vampires.

Rather than sinking their teeth into victims necks, these sanguinarians meaning blood drinkers prefer to find a consenting donor and use sterilised equipment.


Psychologist Dr Emyr Williams said in 2014 there could be 15,000 of these vampires in the UK.

The Sun travelled to Germany for goth festival Wave-Gotik-Treffen last summer, which attracts a number of Brit vamps.

Londoner Darren Powell, or Demon Daz, drinks his girlfriends blood twice a week and claimed: Being a vampire has never been so popular.

FROM the moment Jonathan Harker was asked if the count had sucked more than his blood, we knew we were in for a Dracula like no other.

But nobody could have predicted the shows batty mix of horror and comedy, which hooked viewers more used to cosy period drama on New Years Day.


The Beeb was smart to hit us with the next two episodes in rapid succession. Which is why, ahead of tomorrow nights finale, the nation is suddenly bitten by the vampire bug all over again.

With a pulsating stream of gore and gags, fanged babies and decapitated nuns, first our stomachs turn then our sides split.

Writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, who gave us Sherlock, could have treated Bram Stokers tale with reverence. Instead, they went for the jugular.

Claes Bang quips in the opener: Im undead, Im not unreasonable.


And in last nights follow-up on a ship full of trapped human prey he describes him-self as, a connoisseur in a wine cellar.

Dolly Wells steals the show as Sister Agatha Van Helsing, a nun struggling to believe in God.

She says: Like many women my age, Im trapped in a loveless marriage, maintaining appearances for the sake of a roof over my head.

This reinvention keeps the spirit of the original novella but adds clever new elements.


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Purists might roll their eyes at the ramped-up homoeroticism but Gatiss and Moffat are right to take a radical look at such an old story.

We didnt need just another version of the familiar vampire tale we needed THIS version.

Disturbing, sexy and wicked, Dracula is bloody marvellous.

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BBCs Dracula: Everything you need to know from the history of the savage vampire to the dramas goriest mom - The Sun

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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