Airdate: Jekyll

The ABC is set to screen the BBC’s modern take on a classic Robert Louis Stevenson character in Jekyll.

The series, described as a sequel to the original rather than a re-telling, stars James Nesbitt (Murphy’s Law, Bloody Sunday, Cold Feet). He plays Tom Jackman, who is plagued by strange transformations into a younger, stronger, more animal-like version of himself. It also features Gina Bellman, Denis Lawson, Meera Syal and Michelle Ryan.

The three part series screens at 8:30pm from Sunday March 2nd.

Press Release:

Part conspiracy thriller, part comic horror, Steven Moffat’s extraordinary retelling of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic takes the ultimate tale of inner conflict to unforgettable new heights.

There’s a new Dr Jekyll, with an old problem –Mr Hyde. But the pair have a deal –a body share –and an impossible life is somehow lived. What Hyde doesn’t know is that Jekyll is married. There’s a wife and two children he’ll do anything to protect from his dark side.

With all the resources of modern technology, and the best surveillance hardware, Jekyll is determined to keep his dangerous alter ego in check by doing a deal –with his own devil. What neither of them know is an ancient organisation, with limitless wealth and power, is monitoring their every move, and a plan over a century in the making is coming to fruition. The return of Dr Jekyll is no accident…

James Nesbitt heads an all-star cast in this exciting new three-part series.

Starring: James Nesbitt (Murphy’s Law, Bloody Sunday, Cold Feet), Gina Bellman (Coupling, Black Eyes), Denis Lawson (Bleak House, Holby City, Star Wars), Meera Syal (Goodness Gracious Me, Keeping Mum, The Kumars at No 42), Fenella Woolgar (He Knew He was Right, The Way We Live Now), Paterson Joseph (Green Wing, William and Mary, Hyperdrive), Michelle Ryan (Mansfield Park, EastEnders, The Bionic Woman).

Production Details: A Hartswood Films production in association with Stagescreen Productions; a BBC America co-production. Written by Steven Moffat (Coupling, Doctor Who), Producer Elaine Cameron (After Thomas, Border Café). Executive Producers Beryl Vertue, Steven Moffat.
3 x 100”app

JEKYLL
Episode 1: Sunday
2 March, 8.30pm
A restraining chair in a simple apartment. Psychiatric nurse Katherine Reimer Michelle Ryan) is busy making preparations. Someone is expected on the stroke of midnight. Her boss, Dr Jackman (James Nesbitt), self-contained, preoccupied, intense, is talking into a dictaphone: “She can be trusted. If you approve, she’s coming to work for us. For both of us.”

As Tom sweeps down the drive of an idyllic country home, his small twin boys, Harry (Christopher Day) and Eddie (Andrew Byrne), rush to greet him. His wife Claire (Gina Bellman) brandishes a large brown envelope full of photographs: “You might at least have the decency to be having an affair.”

Claire has hired a private detective to find out why Tom left his family and his job six months ago, with no explanation. Tom is secretly puzzled –there must be more photos. He clocks the name of the agency and then has to tear himself away –Hyde is coming, and Hyde must never meet Claire.

Later Tom meets with his friend Peter Syme (Denis Lawson) and despite a scheduled change due to happen within the hour, Tom realises he is just a short distance from the detective agency and risks dropping in to find Miranda Callender (MeeraSyal) who runs the agency. Miranda has suddenly come in to a lot of money and is closing down the agency. Paid off –but by whom and why did she hold back some of the pictures? Then Tom bumps into an aggressive young boy in an alleyway who puts a knife to his neck and slams him against a wall. Big mistake. The clock is striking seven –Hyde’s night shift has begun…

Tom awakes in a restaurant gents. No messages of explanation on his dictaphone and lipstick on his cheek. Another unscheduled change. His co-diner has left –a pink cigarette stub the only clue as to who she might be. In the apartment Katherine hides a jar of pills. Tom needs to know –who is Hyde seeing? Is he in a relationship? He downs a cup of tea which tastes odd. Katherine is unforthcoming. Tom has kept Hyde tied to a chair to keep him away from his family. He’s feeling guilty –but then he falls unconscious. Katherine has drugged him. Scared and haunted, Katherine deletes the security footage, turns off the CCTV cameras, removes the fuse and takes Tom’s keys. She searches for and finds an old, yellowed envelope with a photograph of a young woman.

Peter Syme, has been given the task of going to the zoo with Tomand the boys to try and talk some sense into him. Tom was a foundling, no family, no history –and Syme has been his closest friend for twenty years. But suddenly there is a terrible voice whispering in Tom’s ear…And his son Eddie is desperately calling for his help. But who would threaten the life of a six-year-old child? Fugitive and hero, there is no-one Tom can trust anymore.

The Original Novel and Adaptations
The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hydewas a novella written by the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, first published in 1886.

The story is told from the point of view of a London lawyer, John Utterson, who investigates the increasingly odd behaviour of his old friend, the brilliant scientist Dr Henry Jekyll. After relating a disturbing tale of an angry fiend assaulting a small girl, Utterson uncovers a horrific and terrifying truth.

The book was an immediate success and one of Stevenson’s best-selling works. Stage adaptations began in Boston and London within a few months, and it has gone on to inspire scores of major film and stage performances and countless references in popular culture. The phrase ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ has passed into the English language, meaning mean wild, controversial and polar behaviour, or schizophrenia.

In more than 100 film versions, Jekyll has been played by such stars as John Barrymore in a 1920 silent version; Frederic March, who won an Academy Award for his deft portrayal in 1931; Spencer Tracy (1941); Jack Palance (1968); David Hemmings (1981); Anthony Perkins (1989); Laura Dern and Anthony Andrews in the dual role (1989); Michael Caine (1990); and John Malkovich in Mary Reilly(1996).

Reviews
“Steven Moffat’s modern makeover of the Jekyll and Hyde story has been a mischievously engrossing affair, consistently underpinned by the sense that a lot of men (and quite a few women for that matter) might like a bit more Hyde in their lives. The jokes helped a lot too, allowing Moffat to ramp up the absurdity of the plot without ever risking the charge that he was taking it all too seriously. …The thing wouldn’t have worked though if Moffat hadn’t been a little serious, and found something seductive in the battle between civilised restraint and animal impetuosity.” Independent

“This was as entertainingly OTT a performance as a dozen Doctor Who villains, with a palpable sense of menace to boot. In fact, if there was a Bafta for most Demonic Leprechaun in a Sharp Suit, Jimmy would walk it.” The Times

“Moffat’s script is ingeniously playful and James Nesbitt nicely cast for his ability to bounce between lairy sexual opportunism and fretful terror about what the inner beast might do next.”
Independent

“It’s a neat and dangerous retelling, made plausible mainly because Nesbitt is so completely believable as both characters. Generally, Mr Hyde is a grotesque caricature, all stuck-on hair and prosthetics, but Nesbitt needs only the addition of darkened eyeballs to make a transformation that is profound and terrifying.”Sunday Times

“A thriller that’s actually, you know, thrilling. And not a cop or a doctor in sight.” Guardian

“As slick as it is strange, silly as it is sinister, Jekyll, fittingly, is a series with a split personality, and promises to be irresistible.” Sunday Times

2 Comments:

  1. Great fun, this one, as those that saw it, err, last year already know 😉 Steven Moffat’s usual sly cleverness is in full effect, especially towards the end.

    I’m not sure, though, why the ABC is airing this in two-episode blocks (it’s a SIX part series, not three). One side effect of them doing this is that one of the most amusing surprises of the series won’t make it to air in Australia, as it’s in the opening titles of the last episode.

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