‘Sherlock’ creator adapting Conan Doyle ghost story ‘Lot No. 249’ this Christmas

Mark Gatiss has announced another Christmas ghost story for the BBC.

This year marks a decade since the Doctor Who writer began making his spooky little festive films.

He began the tradition in 2013 with an adaptation of The Tractate Middoth by M.R. James, followed by The Dead Room in 2018, Martin’s Close in 2019, The Mezzotint in 2021, and Count Magnus last year.

Gatiss is back this festive season, adapting Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story Lot No. 249.

Of course, the 57-year-old actor English comedian is very familiar with the works of Conan Doyle, having co-created, written and starred in the BBC’s hit Sherlock series!

Lot No.249 involves a group of Oxford students, one of whom undertakes research into the secrets of Ancient Egypt which become the talk of the college.

“Can these experiments truly breathe life to the horrifying bag of bones which is the mysterious Lot. No 249?” teases the synopsis.

Leading the cast of the 30-minute short film are Kit Harington as Abercrombie Smith and Freddie Fox as Edward Bellingham.

They’ll be joined by Colin Ryan (Boundless), John Heffernan (Dracula), James Swanton (Stopmotion), Jonathan Rigby (Father Brown), and Andrew Horton (Slotherhouse).

Harrington is best known for his role as Jon Snow in all eight seasons of Game of Thrones, while Fox has appeared in shows like White House Farm, The Crown and The Pursuit of Love.

“It’s a serious delight for me to delve once again into the brilliant work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, this time for the Christmas Ghost story,” said Gatiss.

Lot No.249 is a personal favourite and is the grand-daddy (or should that be Mummy?) of a particular kind of end of Empire chiller: a ripping yarn packed with ghastly scares and who-knows-what lurking in the Victorian closet…”

When’s the release date?

Lot No. 249 will premiere in the UK on BBC Two and streaming on BBC iPlayer in late December 2023.

We expect it’ll be made available to watch on BritBox in the US.

The Christmas ghost story will be airing alongside a new three-part documentary about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, hosted by Lucy Worsley.

Killing Sherlock: Lucy Worsley on the Case of Conan Doyle will follow the British historian and presenter as she investigates the extraordinary love-hate relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, detective and author.

A complete collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes books is available on Amazon.