9pm, BBC One
I dont drinkwine.
With those four words, co-writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat shamelessly send out the signal that sets the tone for their mad and breathless new attack on Dracula, a giggling, drooling whirlwind of a thing that launches televisions new season at a pace other British dramas will surely struggle to match. Seriously, if youre feeling fragile after marking Hogmanay, its maybe best to avoid this until your stomach has settled: not only because it revels in icky, flesh-stripping, head-ripping gore, but also because it just clatters along at such a frantic pace, tossing out surprises that could leave you whiplashed and dizzy trying to keep up.
That famous line about the wine stems not from Bram Stokers 1897 novel, but from the 1931 Hollywood production that introduced Bela Lugosis deathless incarnation of the undead count. It wasnt the first movie based on Stokers book that was Nosferatu, the unofficial, masterly, 1922 German silent adaptation but it was the first to hypnotise the world. Like the Count creating followers by infecting them with his cursed bite, Lugosis film is the Patient Zero responsible for spawning all the countless Draculas that have followed.
And, the point is, theyre all in here. Gatiss and Moffats Dracula isnt simply yet another rendering of Stokers story although, beginning with young English solicitor Joanathan Harkers journey to Transylvania to conclude a real estate deal with the mysterious Count, it is that, too. Beneath the skin, though, their series is really a wild celebration of almost every Dracula there has ever been, a rabid fan festival disguised as a drama: DracCon 2020.
The references fly thicker than the swarms of bats: allusions to the stern theatricality of the Lugosi era, the claustrophobia of the BBCs excellent 1977 TV version with Louis Jourdan, and the stylised frenzy of Francis Ford Coppolas 1992 movie; hints of the sooty expressionism of Nosferatu and, in the pale, ancient walls of Draculas castle (one of several stunning locations), even faint echoes of Werner Herzogs brilliantly raw and rotten 1978 Nosferatu remake.
Elsewhere come nods to more obscure sources (I might even have spotted a canny lift from Dracula 2000, a terrible film that had one really great idea about Draculas traditional nemesis, Van Helsing). Above all, though, this series bows at the vividly bloodstained altars of the Hammer movies, their pulp adventure muscle and lush gothic atmosphere.
Just as in the evolving Hammer cycle, each episode of this series, going out nightly in three feature-length chunks, has a different style. The second, a wickedly drawn-out account of the Counts journey by sea toward Whitby aboard a ship from which people keep vanishing, turns Agatha Christie inside out, while also working in a long, maniacal tribute to Inside No. 9, the twisty show created by Gatisss League Of Gentlemen colleagues Reese Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton.
Miraculously, for all these nods and winks, it also works wonderfully as a rip-roaring Dracula drama. Much of this is due to the two leads. Just as Hammer got it right by pairing Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, the series scores by giving us Claes Bang and Dolly Wells. Bang is terrific as the vampire, spiking Lees genuinely foreboding presence and dark sexuality with a sense of humour and camp thats part Jason King, part Carry On Screaming. Opposite him, Wells is simply fantastic as Sister Agatha, a nun well versed in vampire lore. If she doesnt get her own series after this, theres no justice.
Maybe its just the right season, the right kind of long dark nights. Stuffed with ideas and flaunting its own cleverness, at other times of year this Dracula might just be too rich for the blood. But now is the time for overindulgence, and this is a treat to sink your teeth into. Or vice versa.
The Trial Of Christine Keeler 9pm, BBC One Depending what age you are, you well feel either (A) that the Profumo Scandal has been done to death, or (B) its such ancient history you couldnt care less. But, given that A Very English Scandal was such a deserved hit, the BBC has dug up the most famous political sex and power farrago of the period in the hope of repeating the success. But while this six-part dramatic retelling is solid enough, it doesnt have the hustling wit and mischievous spark of that earlier drama. Ben Miles plays John Profumo, self-assured Secretary Of State For War in the Tory cabinet of 1961, whose brief fling with 19-year-old showgirl Keeler (Sophie Cookson) leads to spiralling disaster for all involved and the government itself. James Norton co-stars as Stephen Ward, the socialite who matches the two up, and also introduces Keeler to other friends.
Searching For Sam: Adrian Dunbar On Samuel Beckett 10pm, BBC Four Marking the 30th anniversary of Becketts death, Dunbar puts that Line Of Duty success to good use with this documentary, a personal essay on his love for the great Irish writer. Dunbar, who has directed several of Becketts plays, knows the work well and pushes past the bleak label routinely applied to find the compassion, heart and humour present amid the absurdity and angst. Following Becketts footsteps, from childhood in Dublin and the Wicklow hills, through his school years in Enniskillen to his decisive move to Paris to work with James Joyce, Dunbar traces how these landscapes and experiences shaped Becketts imagination including his war years, working with the Resistance and dodging Nazis in southern France. Contributors include actor Stephen Rhea, who worked with Beckett, and photographer John Minihan, who took some of the most stunning portraits of the man.
BBC One, BBC Two, STV, Channel 4
Susan Calman takes control of the BBCs New Years Eve mission this year. At 9pm, you can catch her Not Quite The End Of The Year Show (BBC Scotland), as she looks back over the lows of 2019. But the main event is Hogmanay (11.30pm, BBC One), as Calman leads us into the buzzsaw of the bells with guests James Cosmo, Mark Bonnar, Jane McCarry and Martin Compston, and music from Travis and Julie Fowlis. Theres more music with Joolss Annual Hootenanny (11.15pm, BBC Two), welcoming in the new by rolling out old stuff like Stereophonics. On STV, Seans Very Scottish Hogmanay (11.30pm) sees Sean Batty at Ayrshires Craufurdland Castle with Dougie MacLean and Mairi Campbell. Meanwhile, on The Last Leg Of The Year (9pm, Channel 4), Alex Hill and guests make another attempt at finding the funny side of the past 12 months.
10pm, Sky Atlantic
The third and final series of this superb series about the sex industry in late-1970s New York. Created by The Wires David Simon and crime writer George Pelecanos, its a tough and seedy subject, but this show has handled it with open eyes and a careful, complex feel for the characters caught in the trade, as well as a masterful evocation of time and place. Weve jumped ahead several years to late 1984 now, and, as the Times Square neighbourhood flickers on the verge of gentrification, porn is also changing, moving toward being a mainstream business with the explosion of the home video market. But Eileen (Maggie Gyllenhaal) and her mentor Harvey have very different ideas about the market, and the kind of material they want to create. Meanwhile, a darker change has come, with the Aids crisis at its worst.
Top Of The Pops: The Story Of 1989 - 8.30pm, BBC Four In Search Of Dracula With Mark Gatiss - 10.35pm, BBC Two
1989 already? The ongoing Top Of The Pops reruns continue to be the gift that keeps giving for BBC Four and, to kick off a new year of repeats, tonight comes the traditional documentary overview of the era under the spotlight, the period that saw the rise of Madchester, the dawn of Milli Vanilli, and plenty of peak Madonna. Marc Almond is among the contributors looking back on events look out later for more from the man with a repeat of this years excellent Soft Cell documentary, Say Hello, Wave Goodbye (10.30pm). Elsewhere, Mark Gatiss shows off the research he did for Dracula with an excellent documentary on the origins and many incarnations of Bram Stokers creation, including happy memories from some of the Hammer studios former brides.
Clive James: Postcard From Sydney
8.15pm, BBC Two
The first of three programmes tonight marking the recent passing of the great writer, broadcaster, poet, novelist, thinker, critic, translator and general good Australian. James always cited the Postcards From series as among his most personal work and this 1991 episode, in which he returns to his hometown after living abroad many years, shows why, as he visits formative haunts including the derelict Luna Park, and the hill at Sydney Cricket Ground. The following episode, Postcard From London (9.05pm), while bristling with his customary caustic wit, is even more poignant, as James recalls moving to London as a young man in the early 1960s, and experiencing the town at full swing along the way he chats with Peter Cook, Victoria Wood, Terence Donavan and Michael Caine. The evening ends with another showing of the moving 2018 interview When Mary Beard Met Clive James (9.55pm).
Read the rest here:
Damien Love's TV pick of the week (Dec 29-Jan 4) - HeraldScotland
- From The Confessional: Our Celebrity Crushes Are The Best Pandemic Escape There Is - Scary Mommy - September 30th, 2020
- First Look: 'Unmatched: Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Brings One of the Greatest TV Shows of All Time to Your Table and It's Available for Pre-Order... - September 30th, 2020
- Dracula series 2 'up in the air' due to coronavirus - The List - September 29th, 2020
- Castlevania: The 10 Scariest Monsters Of The Franchise, Ranked By Their Design - TheGamer - September 29th, 2020
- One Piece's Dramatic Crying Is Drawn That Way for a Reason | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - September 29th, 2020
- What's Up at the Movies: We Review Enola Holmes - What'sUpNewp - September 26th, 2020
- Dracula (Hammer film series) - Wikipedia - September 26th, 2020
- Everything coming to HBO Max in October 2020 - Mashable - September 26th, 2020
- 10 Batman Comics That Should Be Movies (& The Perfect Director For Each) - Screen Rant - September 26th, 2020
- Dracula Season 2: When will the second season be renewed? Updates! - Finance Rewind - September 25th, 2020
- THS Fright-A-Thon: All The Spooky Content Coming to HBO Max in October - That Hashtag Show - September 25th, 2020
- Alice Lowe's teen obsessions: 'Under the bed was Keanu Reeves folded into tiny pieces' - The Guardian - September 25th, 2020
- HBO Max in October Heres Everything New Coming - Yahoo Entertainment - September 25th, 2020
- Everything Coming to HBO Max in October 2020 - HYPEBEAST - September 25th, 2020
- Texas Ballet Theater to Host Dracula-Themed Event at Coyote Drive-In - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - September 23rd, 2020
- Exclusive: Romancelvania Is a Dracula Reality TV Show & Metroidvania Hybrid from the Dev of Perception - The Escapist - September 23rd, 2020
- Texas Ballet Theater Brings Dance To The Drive-in For Special Event - Broadway World - September 23rd, 2020
- Halloween Themed Cocktails Only $5 at Applebee's - 94.5 PST - September 23rd, 2020
- DC: The 10 Best Elseworlds Stories That You Need To Read | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - September 23rd, 2020
- In Case You Missed It: MadCave Studios, 'WolvenHeart' Issues 1-7 - Geek Vibes Nation - September 23rd, 2020
- Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2 look set to come to PC with new rating - GamesRadar+ - September 23rd, 2020
- Tune In For The Bainbridge Pod ACCOMPLICE Anytime, Anywhere - Broadway World - September 23rd, 2020
- Fall fun at the Blast Corn Maze - thesuntimesnews.com - September 23rd, 2020
- Ranking Every Adam Sandler Movie, From Worst Reviewed to Best - msnNOW - September 23rd, 2020
- Theatre of Dare schedules auditions for socially-distanced October production of Dracula - The Outer Banks Voice - September 22nd, 2020
- Dracula Season 2 is back! The Release Date, Cast, Synopsis, Hos Dracula died? Every information is here! T ... - 90Xtra - September 22nd, 2020
- Dracula Season 2: Is There Any Update On A Possible Second Season? - POP TIMES UK - September 22nd, 2020
- Hotel Transylvania: Will Dracula and Erica Finally get Married in the Fourth Sequel? Read furt ... - Gizmo Posts 24 - September 22nd, 2020
- FearFest Lineup and Trailer Revealed by AMC - VitalThrills.com - September 22nd, 2020
- Marvel Comics Shares Chilling Variant Cover Art Paying Homage To Classic Horror Comics of The Past For Halloween - GeekTyrant - September 22nd, 2020
- Fade To Black: Every Movie Reference (& How The Killer Relates To Each) - Screen Rant - September 22nd, 2020
- Scorned at First, These Seven Airplanes (Finally) Proved Their Mettle - Air & Space Magazine - September 21st, 2020
- Hollywood actress tells why Newcastle proved a top choice for filming her new movie - Chronicle Live - September 21st, 2020
- Costumes maketh the monster: Inside the armor of Bram Stokers Dracula - The Spool - September 16th, 2020
- 6 Dracula Movies to Watch in Anticipation of Spooky Season - News18 - September 16th, 2020
- 10 fun facts about the Monster family - Explica - September 16th, 2020
- DG MARTIN COLUMN: 'We didn't leave our party. It left us.' - The Stanly News & Press - Stanly News & Press - September 16th, 2020
- Tuberculosis is still a threat in the world today - Galveston County Daily News - September 16th, 2020
- JK Rowling's 'Troubled Blood' Adds to The Long History of Transmisogyny in Horror - Wear Your Voice - September 16th, 2020
- Aleister Black has a good explanation for why he turned on Kevin Owens - Cageside Seats - September 16th, 2020
- Itll draw the blood from your veins: Dracula marks spectacular return to stage - Sydney Morning Herald - September 14th, 2020
- New north-east folklore project launched in bid to attract tourists - Aberdeen Evening Express - September 14th, 2020
- Marvel Comics Universe & Wolverine #5 Spoilers & Review: NOT Branded As Path To X Of Swords, Like Other Dawn Of X X-Men Books, But Is It... - September 14th, 2020
- Wolverine: Logan Is the Only Hero Who Sees a SECRET Threat to the X-Men - CBR - Comic Book Resources - September 14th, 2020
- Castlevania Season 3: Cast And Plot Update For Fans On The Netflix information - World Top Trend - September 14th, 2020
- Why Bloodborne Is the Perfect Game for the Halloween Season | CBR - CBR - Comic Book Resources - September 14th, 2020
- Keanu Reeves Struggled to Make a Hit Action Movie Between 'Speed' and 'The Matrix' - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - September 12th, 2020
- Keanu Reeves Opens Up About Why He Refuses to Embrace His Fame - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - September 12th, 2020
- 10 Best Action Horror Games (According To Metacritic) - GameRant - September 12th, 2020
- Keanu Reeves' 5 Best On-Screen Love Interests Ranked - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - September 12th, 2020
- Eight old classic books that could be worth thousands, from The Hobbit to Dracula - Heart - September 11th, 2020
- Image Quilt Cinema coming to Herkimer - The Times Telegram - September 11th, 2020
- Who is the third who walks always beside you? Carol Reed, Graham Greene, and The Third Man - Bright Lights Film Journal - September 11th, 2020
- New Freddy Krueger Nike Sneakers Will Have You Running from Elm Street This Halloween - MovieWeb - September 11th, 2020
- Castlevania Season 3 Cast Update For Fans On The Netflix - World Top Trend - September 11th, 2020
- 'Hammer House Of Horror' At 40: All The Show's Best Episodes, Ranked - Decider - September 11th, 2020
- Fans Expecting Dracula Season 2: Is There Any Need After a Dead End? What Can Be The Possible Plot, Cast A ... - 90Xtra - September 8th, 2020
- Keanu Reeves's Favorite Movie Is Not 'The Matrix,' 'Speed,' or 'John Wick' - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - September 8th, 2020
- One on One: 'We didn't leave our party. It left us.' - The Coastland Times - September 8th, 2020
- What is Gothic Horror? 18 Examples of the Genre - Book Riot - September 8th, 2020
- When Hannibal met Dracula: Screen baddies on how they became best of buds after teaming up for lockdown - The Sunday Post - September 7th, 2020
- Defeating COVID like returning from 'Dracula's coffin' - Herald and News - September 7th, 2020
- Castlevania Season 3: Release Date And Latest Updates, Cast With Everything You Want To Know Detail - World Top Trend - September 7th, 2020
- Universal Monsters Have Come To Torrid - Pirates and Princesses - September 7th, 2020
- Keanu Reeves Thrives Being a Loner and Doesn't Want Fans thinking He's Lonely - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - September 7th, 2020
- Castlevania season 4: on the cards - The TeCake - September 7th, 2020
- This terrifying 'Dracula spider' will haunt your dreams - Gentside UK - September 6th, 2020
- WA Ballet resurrects live theatre with fresh take on a classic tale - WAtoday - September 6th, 2020
- Six of the best: Medieval castles - Emerging Europe - September 6th, 2020
- DG Martin: We didn't leave the party; it left us - Salisbury Post - Salisbury Post - September 6th, 2020
- NECA Celebrates Halloween Early With Universal Monsters Masks Inspired By Classic Toys! - Bloody Disgusting - September 6th, 2020
- PHOTOS: Spooky Street Entertainment & Character Greetings Coming to Universal Studios Japan for a Scaled-Back Halloween from September 18th to... - September 6th, 2020
- Will There Be A Dracula Season 2 Know All the Details Here - Fox Exclusive - September 1st, 2020
- Let's Get Spooky! NECA Unleashes Universal Monsters with a Series of Limited-Edition Collectible Masks! - Icon Vs. Icon - September 1st, 2020
- Live theatre returns to Northcott Theatre after lockdown - In Your Area - September 1st, 2020
- 100 Greatest movie quotes from 100 years of film - KAKE - September 1st, 2020
- 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Monster Squad | ScreenRant - Screen Rant - August 31st, 2020
- 5 of Our Favorite Selena Gomez Roles From Her 18-Year Career - Study Breaks - August 31st, 2020
- 8 of the world's most beautiful castles - RTE.ie - August 31st, 2020
- Every Universal Monsters Dracula Movie Ranked From Worst To Best - Screen Rant - August 29th, 2020
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero