The Tractate Middoth

Preview: The Tractate Middoth (BBC2)

In the UK: Christmas Day, 9.30pm, BBC2

I’ve raved on many occasions about the BBC’s Christmas Ghost Stories, most of which were written by MR James. There have been various attempts over the years, mostly by BBC4, to resurrect the idea. Now BBC2 is giving it another go – mostly at the instigation of Doctor Who and Sherlock writer (and mega MR James fanboy) Mark Gatiss.

And marvellously, it’s going out on Christmas Day. Here’s a gothic BBC2 trailer:

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The Wednesday Christmas Play: A Warning To The Curious (1972)

You’ve seen it recreated with PlayMobil figures, but with Christmas fast approaching, it’s time for the real thing: the BBC adaptation of MR James’ classic ghost story, A Warning To The Curious. Airing in 1972, it was the second of the BBC’s Ghost Stories for Christmas and was adapted by the marvellous Lawrence Gordon Clark. In it, Peter Vaughan is an amateur archaeologist looking for a particularly important English treasure. Unfortunately for him, he finds it and discovers it has a guardian…

With its marvellous atmosphere and stark seaside location, I think it’s the best of all the MR James adaptations that the BBC did and you can watch it below, you lucky people*. Enjoy!

* There is, apparently, a minor edit in this version. For the full version, there’s the marvellous BFI DVD, which includes Robert Hardy in The Stalls of Barchester.

BFI events

What TV’s on at the BFI in October/November 2013

Louis Jordan in Count Dracula

It’s time for our regular look at the TV that the BFI is showing, this time in the months of October and November 2013. And what a pick there is. There’s a big collection of TV previews, including episodes of the news series of Wizards Vs Aliens and This Is Jinsy, the first episode of Yonderland from the Horrible Histories cast, the first episode of the final series of Poirot mysteries on ITV, including a Q&A with David Suchet, and Mark Gatiss’s adaptation of The Tractate Middoth, complete with documentary on MR James and Q&A.

On top of all that, there’s a season of Gothic movies and TV, including Channel 4’s Dead Set, BBC1’s classic Louis Jordan adaptation of Count Dracula introduced by the director, and a panel discussion about vampires that involves none other than Russell Tovey, Anthony Head and Toby Whithouse.

Sign me up.

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Thursday’s “Jo cancelled, a new Ghost Story for Christmas from Mark Gatiss and more Portlandia” news


  • Courteney Cox to make directorial debut with Hello I Must Be Going, Seann William Scott and Kate Walsh to star

Film casting


  • Trailer for Keanu Reeves’ Man of Tai Chi
  • Another trailer for The Wolverine
  • Trailer for In A World…
  • Trailer for Diana with Naomi Watts and Naveen Andrews
  • Trailer for 300: Rise Of An Empire with Lena Headey, Eva Green et al
  • Trailer for Snowpiercer with Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton

French TV

  • Canal+ to create a new channel for French, European and American TV
  • TF1 cancels Jo, but the series may go on without it



New US TV show casting