‘The Mezzotint’ first look: ‘Sherlock’ writer adapts classic M. R. James ghost story

The BBC has released three official promotional photos for The Mezzotint.

Based on M. R. James’ 1904 ghost story The Mezzotint, the 30-minute drama has been written by Mark Gatiss.

The 54-year-old English actor and screenwriter is the co-creator of the BBC’s hit Sherlock and Dracula series, and has starred in Wolf Hall, The Father, and Taboo.

Gatiss has adapted several ghost stories for the BBC in previous Christmas seasons, including Martin’s Close in 2019, The Dead Room in 2018, The Tractate Middoth in 2013, and Crooked House in 2008.

The official synopsis for The Mezzotint reads: “It’s 1922 and in the heart of an old English college, Edward Williams receives an engraving of an unknown country house. An imposing facade. A sweeping lawn. And, just perhaps, something else…?

“Laced with M. R. James’ trademark terror, The Mezzotint will guarantee a chill in the air for viewers this Christmas.”

Williams is played by Rory Kinnear, best known for his roles in Black Mirror and the James Bond movies, and currently appearing in the BBC’s 1960s drama Ridley Road.

The cast also includes Robert Bathurst (Downton Abbey), Frances Barber (Doctor Who), Nikesh Patel (Indian Summers), John Hopkins (Poldark), Emma Cunniffe (Unforgotten), and Tommaso Di Vincenzo (Dracula).

Piers Wenger, Director of BBC Drama, has described The Mezzotint as “the perfect slice of horror to thrill us this festive season.”

Writer Mark Gatiss commented earlier this year: “It’s delightful to be bringing a little seasonal unease to the nation once again and this famous M. R. James story is just the ticket. We’ve assembled a top-notch team to bring this eerie mystery – and a certain enigmatic old picture – to life.”

The Mezzotint will premiere in the UK this Christmas on BBC Two.

Gatiss is also working on an adaptation of The Amazing Mr Blunden for Sky this festive season.

The complete Sherlock box set is available on DVD on Amazon.