‘Dracula’ reviews round-up: ‘Slick and entertaining’ series is ‘frightening and funny’

The BBC’s new Dracula series launches in the UK tomorrow night.

Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat are back with three new feature-length TV movies on BBC One, based on Bram Stoker’s classic Gothic novel.

Joining Danish actor Claes Bang (Borgen) as Count Dracula are Joanna Scanlan (No Offence), Dolly Wells (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), John Heffernan (The Crown), Morfydd Clark (Patrick Melrose), Lujza Richter (Phantom Thread), Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits), Catherine Schell (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), Youssef Kerkour (Jack Ryan), Mark Gatiss (Sherlock), Sacha Dhawan (Last Tango in Halifax) and Clive Russell (Game of Thrones).

Episode 1 airs at 9pm on Wednesday 1st January 2020 on BBC One, with the next two episodes airing later this week.


Dracula is set in Transylvania in 1897 as the blood-drinking Count draws his plans against Victorian London.

We’ve rounded up a selection of reviews for the first episode to help you decide if you’d like to watch it:


“The makers of Sherlock have now turned to another classic character in Dracula and their giddily entertaining take on Bram Stoker’s blood-sucking Count provides plenty to sink your teeth into this New Year … This retelling pulls off the tricky balancing act of being both frightening and funny, spine-chilling and sexy – not to mention ever so slightly camp.” ★★★★★ – The Telegraph


“A blood-sucking delight that leaves you thirsty for more … Fun, smart, scary and with just the right whiff of ham … Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss have served up a diabolic luxury.” ★★★★★ – The Guardian


“I expect many viewers were wondering at five to nine last night: “Do we really need another remake of Dracula?” … The answer, it became obvious pretty quickly in this first episode, was yes, yes, yes, yes. It turns out that what you can bring afresh is heft, complexity, intellectual jousting, mockery of popular vampire legend and a simply outrageous diva tart of a Dracula in the Danish actor Claes Bang.” ★★★★★ – The Times


“Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat, creators of Sherlock, have adapted – loosely, it must be said – Bram Stoker’s classic as a New Year three-parter. The job they have done is quite bonkers. All the bits without Dracula are frightening. All the bits with Dracula are funny. This shouldn’t work at all and yet it does, provided you’re here for entertainment rather than a good fright.” ★★★★ – The Telegraph


“…as fans (and foes) of Sherlock are all too aware, Moffat wouldn’t be Moffat if he didn’t spend some time tinkering with a perfectly good story, adding in self-referential flourishes and messing around with the timeline … Good gory fun then, although, like every Moffat-sceptic, I’m intrigued to see how it might come together over the next couple of days.” ★★★★ – i News


Sherlock’s Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss make their return to BBC One with a brilliantly campy, scary and stylish (if a little bloated) take on Bram Stoker’s bloodsucker … Dracula is sharp, visually arresting, genuinely scary and sometimes funny, and it’s got some great Easter Eggs for horror aficionados … a fun, slick and entertaining Dracula story that’s perfect for the cold, dark nights of the New Year. ” ★★★ – Radio Times


“At its best, this new version by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss is a loving tribute to the Hammer Horror kind of Dracula, which keeps the novel’s more macabre attractions, adds fresh wit and energy, and only occasionally drags.” ★★★★ – The Independent


“This all-new Dracula has charm and sarcasm to die for but ultimately lacks any heft or bite … This Dracula has a fair amount in common with Sherlock, the titular neck-chomper oozing charm and spitting out sarcastic lines with an inbuilt menace not a million miles away from Andrew Scott’s Moriarty … Enjoyable up to a point but threatening to become a little ponderous in its telling, there is very little tension afoot.” ★★★ – The List


“Ashocking, horrific, hilarious series … [Claes] Bang sinks his teeth into the role: injecting a seething, amusing malevolence into the character in one of the most theatrical depictions yet. The BBC makes the 123-year-old tale scary again – kicking off 2020 on a high, if terrifying, note.” ★★★★★ – Culture Whisper


It’s not easy to straddle the fine line between horror and comedy without one overwhelming the other, but Moffat and Gattis smartly weave gore and camp together here in a supremely entertaining homage to the best that Hammer Horror had to offer … everything about this adaptation exceeds expectation. The jokes are funnier than you’d expect, the scares are genuinely unnerving, and most of the changes made actually improve the source material without losing what makes Dracula so appealing in the first place.” – Digital Spy


“Weird is one word for it. Idiosyncratic is another. Unhinged might be a third. Scary, funny, unusual, simultaneously a tribute to classic movie horror and a pastiche of the same, it careens between broad laughs and disquieting images.” – Den of Geek


All three episodes of Dracula will be available to watch around the world outside of the UK this weekend on Netflix.

The complete Sherlock DVD box set is available on Amazon.